Torture is a deliberate and systematic dismantling of a person’s identity and humanity through physical or psychological pain and suffering. Torture’s purpose is to destroy a sense of community, eliminate leaders, create a climate of fear and produce a culture of apathy.

The National Capacity Building Project is a collaboration among CVT, the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma and the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture to provide continued capacity building and training to organizations across the United States serving survivors of torture.

As the technical assistance arm of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement's Survivors of Torture Program, our work focuses on promoting integrated, sustainable torture survivor rehabilitation services. We support and strengthen survivors of torture programs and refugee-serving organizations as they provide specialized services to survivors and within torture-impacted communities.

They fill a gap for torture survivor rehabilitation organizations in the U.S. by focusing on monitoring and evaluation, clinical skills development, organizational development and holistic sustainability. Their work includes educational resources such as webinars and a Case Management 101 video mini-course on the fundamentals of providing case management to torture survivors.

One example of their work is the Measured Impact Webinar on the topic of promoting safety with clients who are survivors of torture and forced migration that they hosted in January 2017. As providers who work with this population know, their clients face many challenges in navigating environments that feel unsafe and out of their control. Clients’ concerns about their safety and their family's safety may be associated with living in a high-crime neighborhood, where "there is nothing 'post' about PTSD"; with fearing the police or other people in uniforms due to their trauma triggers; or with concerns about what seems to be an increase in anti-immigration rhetoric and the concerns around immigration and deportation. This two-part series was designed to provide psychosocial and immigration-related strategies for identifying and addressing safety related stressors of clients. The live sessions were well attended and  93% of post-session survey respondents reported that they would use the learnings in their work through internal training and supervision and by using resources recommended in the sessions such as the Know Your Rights card. Attendees also felt they gained better awareness of their client’s perceptions with one attendee saying “I will be more aware of clients' comfort in meeting in the office versus other meeting spaces and how I can make them feel more safe and comfortable.” Recordings of these sessions may be found at:


Restoring Hope: National Capacity Building - Helping Torture Survivors Heal Huy Pham [email protected]
St. Paul, MN


Three Major Goals of NCB

  • Increase the service capacity of organizations working with torture survivors across the U.S. to provide effective, holistic services that promote healing and wholeness.
  • Promote integrated care for torture survivors by creating collaborative relationships among torture survivor rehabilitation programs, mainstream health and behavioral healthcare agencies, and refugee service organizations.
  • Evaluate and strengthen the quality and sustainability of services for torture survivors among ORR Survivors of Torture programs.

FFY 2016 -2017

  • Worked with 41 Survivor of Torture (SOT) programs across 23 states, as well as refugee-serving organizations working with significant survivor populations.
  • Reached 84 organizations in 30 states with our capacity building work.
  • 10 Measured Impact Webinars and e-consultations (MIWs) reached 522 people from 120 organizations nationwide.
  • Average Number of Hits per Month on 2709 (New Users: 2053; Returning Users: 656) exceeding goal of 1500 Hits per Month.