Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience

The United States Torture Victims Relief Act of 1998 defines torture as “an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control.”

The Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience (PPR) - a collaboration between Nationalities Service Center, HIAS Pennsylvania, and BuildaBridge International - provides culturally competent and extensive services to survivors of torture and their families. With the generous support of the United States Office of Refugee Resettlement, PPR assists survivors in meeting their legal, social, case management, medical and mental health needs. PPR is open to all survivors of torture and their families regardless of immigration status.

Philadelphia and its surrounding areas (including southern New Jersey and northern Delaware) is home to an estimated 3,000 torture survivors. PPR has aimed to annually screen 600 individuals for a history of torture, with Nationalities Service Center providing case management services to 50, and HIAS Pennsylvania providing legal services to 50. Torture survivors and their families may face isolation and lack of support in addition to psychological, medical, and/or legal difficulties. PPR focuses on comprehensive case management, providing long-term legal solutions that provide stability and community building events such as social outings and educational group meetings as a way to facilitate support. Many survivors of torture are eligible for asylum in the United States as a result of their abuse, and HIAS Pennsylvania's team works to discuss legal options with clients and assist in their application for legal relief.

Survivors of torture are often unrecognized within medical, legal, and social service settings. PPR provides training opportunities regarding identifying and serving immigrant and refugee survivors of torture and their families. PPR provides training to a wide variety of professionals, including medical personnel, attorneys, students, resettlement staff, social service providers, and mental health practitioners. PPR’s training programs and events center around meeting the sensitive needs of this population in a culturally-competent manner.