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Project information

Access to justice for victims of torture

Torture survivors include human rights defenders, victims of sexual violence, and others vulnerable to abuse. Thousands of such victims live in the UK. REDRESS provides free expert legal services helping victims to access justice, hold perpetrators to account and restore their dignity.

January 2014 - December 2014

Charity information: REDRESS

  • Need


    Torture remains endemic around the world. The vast majority of survivors have no possibility of seeing justice done due to lack of expertise, lack of free legal aid, and a range of obstacles including de facto immunity of public officials and fears of reprisals. Taking on individual cases, supporting local lawyers and advocating for change helps survivors’ heal but also contributes to reinforcing the rule of law and deterring further abuses.


    We have been pursuing torture cases at national, regional and international levels for 20 years. Experience shows that specialised intervention is capable of opening up new windows for justice where none previously existed. Depending on their nature, some cases may incur substantial funds in one single year or at short notice. The case cost fund would allow us increased flexibility to cover immediate and unforeseen costs, maximising our interventions on behalf of survivors.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Assist torture survivors to seek justice and reparation for the harm they suffered


    » Providing direct legal advice and assistance to torture survivors in pursuing justice
    » Collating torture evidence for court submissions
    » Taking clients cases to national, regional and/or international courts and human rights bodies
    » Intervening as third party in court proceedings (i.e. providing expert opinion) on landmark cases involving torture

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated by:
    • Number of submissions made to national, regional or international courts/human rights bodies
    • Increase in number of cases by end of 2014

  • Impact


    In the long term we expect positive judgments on cases, some of which will have wider impacts on others or may lead to improved laws or standards in certain countries, reducing the prevalence of torture over time.
    We will measure:
    • Number of positive outcomes including judgements, settlements, land mark decisions, etc. in relation to active cases
    • Number of clients who receive a reparation (including public acknowledgement, compensation, rehabilitation)
    • Changes in law and/or practice


    Risks include security concerns in relation to victims and witnesses, which may impede cases being filed. Staff have been trained in risk assessment and expertise in managing appropriate case strategies is shared internally.


    We will provide a mid-term report on new cases, progress and any potential difficulties faced, as well as a final report in the end of the year. We would also be happy to provide more regular email updates on progress in between reports, if helpful.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £24,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £13,000 Casework Costs Legal fees, notary fees, court fees, etc.
      £5,000 Expert reports/assistance Medical and psychological reports for clients; medical and psychosocial assistance fees
      £3,000 Travel Travel for victims to meet with lawyers, to attend hearings or obtain evidence, etc.
      £3,000 Translation or interpretation Translation of court documents, victims' and witnesses' statements; interpretation costs, etc.
  • Background


    We are a charity based in the UK but we work with torture survivors and local lawyers in over 40 countries. Approximately half of our active cases relate to torture survivors living in the UK. Our other clients are from countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern and Western Europe (e.g. Algeria, Bahrain, Cameroon, Chile, Congo, DRC, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, India, Kenya, Libya, Nepal, Peru, Russia, Sudan, Uganda and Uzbekistan).


    Torture survivors typically fall into target groups that include political activists, human rights defenders, victims of armed conflict, including women and children, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) individuals persecuted for their sexual orientation, as well as other marginalised or minority groups. In the UK, we assist immigrants and refugees, as well as UK nationals tortured abroad. We currently have approx. 120 active cases relating to over 800 torture survivors.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Founded in 1992, REDRESS is the only organisation that works specifically with torture survivors to help them obtain enforceable and effective measures of reparation. We have been providing highly specialised legal advice and assistance for 20 years, free of charge, ensuring that even the least privileged can access justice.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Carla Ferstman (Director)

    Carla is an experienced human rights lawyer who has been helping torture victims for over 12 years.

    Kevin Laue (Legal Advisor)

    Kevin is responsible for providing legal advice and assistance to our UK based clients. He has done so for 11 years.

    Sarah Fulton (International Legal Officer)

    Sarah is an English Solicitor responsible for handling a number of cases, including at international level.

REDRESS - our cases