The early identification of asylum seekers having suffered traumatic experiences is now a key issue for all the organizations involved in the field of asylum in Europe, as well as European and national institutions.
According to Council Directive laying down minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers, the Member States have to take into account the specific situation of vulnerable persons such as persons who have been subjected to torture, rape or other forms of severe psychological, physical or sexual violence and ensure that they receive the necessary treatment for the damages caused by those acts. Those provisions shall apply only to persons recognized as having special needs, after an individual evaluation of their situation.
Noticing that most of the Member States could not fulfill those obligations, the French NGO Parcours d’exil decided to implement with 6 European partners organizations the PROTECT project which goal was to develop a very simple and pragmatic questionnaire helping the persons in charge of the first contact with the asylum seekers, at the beginning of the procedure, to realize an evaluation of an eventual state of psychological vulnerability. This first screening is likely to help the social workers, volunteers or immigration officer to address the asylum seekers considered “at risk” to a health professional able to confirm this first evaluation. The purpose of this process is to improve the access to psychological, medical care and to provide adapted material conditions to those vulnerable asylum seekers.
This first project (July 2010 and February 2012), was co-funded by the European Refugee Fund, led to very interesting testing results in the different countries where it was implemented.
The project partners decided to create a second project focused on the dissemination of the outcomes of the PROTECT project.
The PROTECT-ABLE project started in September 2012. It aims at disseminating to a large scale the PROTECT tool and process by providing trainings in 9 Member States, and by carrying out lobbying and networking actions at the International, European and National level.
11 NGO’s from 9 countries (France, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Hungary) are partners of the project and benefit from the support of experts from IRCT (International Council for Torture Victims) and PHAROS (Netherlands).
All the partners are involved in the rehabilitation and care of torture victims.
The PROTECT-ABLE project first goal is to train 500 persons (volunteers, social workers..) in 9 European Countries to the use of the PROTECT questionnaire and process. Those trainings will be provided free of charge by the partners.
The expected result is to have 2 500 asylum seekers (final beneficiaries) tested with the PROTECT questionnaire during the action and 10 000 each year after.