Freedom from Torture - Our Impact in 2017

Our Impact in 2017

Medical Support and Therapy

  • 1,243 new referrals for therapy from 57 different countries in 2017
  • 1,142 internal referrals for help with legal and welfare problems in 2017


  • We provided 22,813 therapy appointments and 665 group sessions ranging from gardening, bread making and art, to football, chess and music.
  • 1,034 clients were seen across 5 therapy centres.
  • From September 2016 to September 2017, 379 survivors successfully concluded therapy.
  • In the first 6 months of 2017, rehabilitative therapy was provided to 756 survivors who came from 80 different countries.


Policy & Advocacy

  • 1 report published (Turning a Blind Eye) in December uncovering evidence and highlighting the practice of torture in Iran between 1985 and 2015.
Your support has helped Marjan gain asylum in the UK

Marjan’s story from our 2017 report “Turning a blind eye: Why the international community must no longer ignore torture in Iran” 

Marjan was born in Iran and was the proud descendant of strong women in her family. Though not pre­viously involved in politics, after the 2009 election she attended a couple of peaceful demonstrations. At the second demonstration security agents at­tacked the crowd and arrested many of the protes­tors including Marjan.

Marjan was sentenced to prison and suffered several beatings and was raped. Released at the end of her sentence she still suffered harassment by one of her torturers, so she fled Iran and sought asylum in the UK.

Despite what she had suffered and the continuing threat in her homeland her application was refused. Her solicitor asked Freedom from Torture to carry out an independent medical assessment. The subse­quent Medico-legal report was submitted with her appeal to the Asylum Court. Thankfully for Marjan the appeal was successful and she is now safe.



Communications & Campaigns

  • 41,905 people signed a petition at the start of 2017 calling on the Home Secretary Amber Rudd to give torture survivors a fair hearing.
  • 30,000 signatures were gained for a second petition in November 2017 that called on the Prime Minister to uphold the UK’s absolute opposition to torture.
  • 4,700,000 social media interactions meaning that Freedom from Torture’s message of human rights and support for survivors of torture has reached more people than ever before.




  • 29,070 supporters
  • £9,628,000 raised to help survivors of torture - breakdown of sources in the below chart (left)

Where your money goes

In 2017, for every £1 you donated, £0.74 went to our services helping people who have been tortured. The remaining £0.26 was used to run the organisation professionally and raise funds to help even more survivors.

"Finally I have someone that really listens to me and that cares”

Benyamin has just turned 20, he lost his father when his family were targeted by the Taliban and he doesn’t even know if his mother is alive.

Thankfully though, your donations have meant that we can help him.

Benyamin arrived in the UK after a very dangerous journey from Afghanistan. In pure desperation he fled for his life with other families, but had to leave his own family.

In a terrifying three-month journey he walked from Iran to Turkey, where he then hid inside a lorry to get into the UK.

Benyamin arrived all alone, with no one to welcome him to the UK. Travelling here illegally and without a passport he was detained for several months. In detention and without anyone to talk to, flashbacks of his experiences in Afghanistan and his horrible journey to the UK reoccurred time after time. After he was released he sought help and was referred to Freedom from Torture.

Benyamin still needs a lot of support but said, “Coming to Freedom from Torture has been really good, finally I have someone that really listens to me and that cares”.

Training and Capacity Building

  • 2,743 external frontline practitioners trained
  • 80 training events delivered alongside 230 capacity building initiatives

Despite our best efforts, every week, across our centres, Freedom from Torture have to turn away approximately two out of three people that are referred to us for help, due to our lack of resources and capacity.

For this reason, we provide specialist trainings, consultations and on-going supervision to other organisations and external service providers. This allows experienced health, social care and legal practitioners to build their skills and confidence to, in turn, work safely and appropriately with torture survivors.

Training and capacity building thus ensures that even if we cannot always provide the necessary therapy and support, more survivors of torture are still able to access a spectrum of services.


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