The Freedom from Torture West Midlands centre opened in Birmingham in 2009 in response to the widespread dispersal of asylum seekers across the UK. Since then, staff at the centre have seen hundreds of survivors of torture living in Birmingham and the surrounding area for assessment and psychological therapy. The demand for its services has increased and in 2013 the West Midlands centre received new referrals for 106 clients and provided ongoing support to 94 survivors of torture across both its adult service and its children, young people and families service.
From its city centre premises in Birmingham, it provides a holistic service for clients and provides the following services:
- A psychological therapy service to children, young people, and adults who are survivors of torture
- A family therapy service to families that have been affected by torture
- Two to five initial assessment sessions to help survivors access appropriate support in the region
- Advice and support to practitioners and organisations working with survivors
- Training for therapeutic and mental health services working with survivors
- Supervision of mental health practitioners and counsellors working with survivors
- Therapeutic groups for survivors of torture
- A resource for survivors and regional agencies needing information on local support services
- A Medico-Legal Report (MLR) writing service
The Freedom from Torture West Midlands centre covers Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, including: Sandwell, Smethwick, Solihull and Stoke-on-Trent.
The Freedom from Torture West Midlands centre provides medium and long-term therapeutic input for survivors of torture. Where we do not have the capacity to take on a client, we may offer an extended assessment in order to explore how to best ensure that their needs are met. We will always try to see survivors for a first appointment as soon as we can. Priority will be given to those clients who are unable to access appropriate therapeutic input, are isolated and in need of a specialist service.
After we have received the referral, we will arrange a first appointment for assessment where appropriate. During assessment the client and therapist will explore what kind of help is most likely to help meet the client's needs. Following this they may be referred to other appropriate services or offered services provided by Freedom from Torture. Due to our limited resources we are unable to provide a crisis service but are happy to be consulted and work alongside statutory agencies providing these services.
Who can be referred to Freedom from Torture West Midlands?
Adults, children, young people and families affected by torture who:
- Need a specialist service because of distress resulting from their experiences of torture
- Their main source of distress is due to their experiences of torture, although this distress may have been increased by the losses and difficulties in exile
- Are isolated or are finding it difficult to get support from communities, family or friends
- Want to talk, or engage in therapeutic input
How do I refer to Freedom from Torture West Midlands?
Referrals for therapy/counselling must usually be made in writing, using our referral form. The referral form and guidelines for referrers can be downloaded below. To refer for a Medico-Legal Report (MLR), lawyers must write to the Asylum Team at the Freedom from Torture London centre.
We accept referrals from survivors themselves, GPs, friends and family, refugee community organisations and other voluntary or statutory sector bodies. For an informal discussion about referring a client or for advice and information about working with survivors, please contact the Freedom from Torture West Midlands centre.