Finding our Way: Developing a Community Work Model for Addressing Torture

Why do community interventions? And why do community interventions in relation to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (CIDT) in South Africa? The literature points to a number of gains as regards community interventions: they are likely to be more efficient in reaching the large numbers of beneficiaries; they are arguably more effective than one-on-one interventions for addressing large-scale psychosocial suffering; they potentially impact on a systemic level rather than on an individual level, and thereby have further reach; and they can mobilise people to engage in challenging and changing policies and institutions so that the realities of their daily lives improve. In “Finding Our Way,” we have tapped a number of sources. First, we discuss different theoretical perspectives on community work that we have identified in the academic literature (Chapter 2). Second, we explore different practical examples of community interventions that we have identified in organisations in CSVR’s and DIGNITY’s broader network (Chapter 3). Third, we discuss some of CSVR’s own experiences with community work in relation to a refugee women’s empowerment project and home visits aimed at support and referrals (Chapter 4). On the basis of these practical and theoretical inputs, we outline the parameters for a CSVR approach to community intervention for torture and CIDT as it emerged towards the end of 2011. This model is now being implemented and tried out in three places around the Gauteng area in South Africa. We will report on the progress of the work at a later stage. In this report, we present how we arrived at the model through systematically combining practical experiences and theoretical inputs.