Services for Survivors of Torture

The Services for Survivors of Torture (SOT) program helps people who have been tortured in another country and are now living in the United States. Torture is defined by U.S. law as an act which is intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering and committed by a person acting under the color of law upon another person who he has under his custody or physical control (18 U.S. Code §2340). As of 2015, research from the Center for Victims of Torture suggests that 44% of refugees, asylees, and asylum seekers living in the U.S. have experienced torture. The SOT program helps survivors to restore their health and dignity as they reunite with family, rebuild their lives, and integrate into their new communities.

The program includes two grant types on a three year cycle:

  • Direct Services for Survivors of Torture grants are designed to provide holistic, strengths-based, and trauma-informed services to survivors of torture and their families to assist them in the healing and recovery process.
  • The Technical Assistance to Survivors of Torture organizations grant is designed to ensure that direct service organizations have the training and resources needed to provide quality, integrated, and sustainable services to survivors and their families.

Eligibility for services does not depend on a person’s immigration status, and there is no time limit for receiving services. For more information on service eligibility, see the Torture Victims Relief Act of 1998, eligibility determination guidance, and a sample eligibility form.

There are currently 34 programs funded by ORR which are located in 22 states throughout the U.S. For program locations, view the list of grantees or a map of healing centers

More information for survivors and providers can be found on www.healtorture.org, which is maintained by the National Capacity Building project, the program’s training and technical assistance provider.