Based on an analysis of previous research studies, the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT), recently concluded that the number of refugee torture survivors in the United States is significantly higher than previously reported. Past estimates of refugee torture survivors in the United States were between 400,000 – 500,000. However, with the increase in number of arriving refugees, CVT estimates that refugee torture prevalence is as high as 44 percent, indicating that the number of refugee torture survivors in the United States could be as high as 1.3 million people. This estimate does not account for the number of torture survivors who arrive seeking asylum or who have been granted asylum by the United States government.
It had been estimated previously that 11,000 torture survivors lived in San Diego. In accordance with the research of CVT, this number is much higher at about 35,000. Survivors of Torture, International is the only accredited torture rehabilitation center in San Diego. Comprehensive services such as therapy, psychiatry, and access to medical and social services are important to help the increasing number of torture survivors rebuild their lives and become contributing members of our community.
In the past three years San Diego received more refugees than the three other top California counties combined.* Almost half of them will have experienced torture and may be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and/or major depressive disorder, according to CVT.
With demand for services for torture survivors increasing to record levels, it is imperative SURVIVORS serve clients with quality comprehensive services. If you would like to assist SURVIVORS as we adjust to these changes, please consider making a donation to SURVIVORS and contacting your elected officials to let them know that it is vital to support the Torture Victims Relief Reauthorization Act of 2015 (TVRRA) which authorizes $25 million to the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s Survivors of Torture Program.
*California Department of Social Services Refugee Programs Bureau, Refugee Arrivals into California Counties; September 2014