Our Integrated Model

TASSC takes an integrated and survivor-centered approach to its work with survivors of torture. All of our staff work with survivors through a trauma-informed and strength-based perspective, focusing on resilience and each survivor’s own strengths as they move toward a brighter future. We work with, not for survivors as they move toward achieving their goals. Our interdisciplinary model also allows for coordination of care that addresses all aspects of a survivor’s wellbeing – from community and social connection, to legal, psychological, and medical support. TASSC addresses the wide range of each survivor's physical and emotional needs and offers support at each step as they find the care and strength they need to recover.

We aim to provide a “second home” for survivors in a warm, caring environment where they can begin to heal. Functioning as a drop-in center, we encourage survivors to come at any time during office hours to enjoy coffee, eat lunch, speak with staff, attend events and workshops, or to use computers and borrow books from the library.


Our goal is to

help survivors tap into the strengths they already have. We are building upon assets, not deficits, and helping them find the resources they need to create a path forward to a new life in the United States.

- Caitlin Tromiczak, TASSC Staff

What Is Our Impact?

TASSC served 279 survivors in 2017. Each year, the demand for our services continues to grow.

Direct Services

  • 2,958 visits from survivors to the TASSC office 

  • 9,120 hours of pro bono service provided by local professionals

  • 83 survivors received individual psychotherapy

  • 80 survivors received comprehensive legal representation

  • 80 survivors were referred to primary medical care

  • 37 survivors received psychological forensic evaluations as evidence to support their asylum cases


  • 75 survivors participated in 60 congressional meetings on Capitol Hill

  • 4 survivors gave testimonies to the US Congress

  • 15 Truth Speakers events featuring TASSC survivors were hosted to educate the community about torture

Education and Training

Additionally, TASSC staff, interns and volunteers provided survivors with: 

  • 100 one-on-one employment counseling sessions 

  • 8 legal orientations 

  • 8 career development workshops

  • 6 education and hiring events

TASSC has helped me so much with the healing process. Caring case managers let me share the terrible torture I suffered and allowed me to release my feelings. At TASSC, I also had the chance to meet other people from my country with similar experiences, which made me realize I was not alone.
— TASSC Survivor
TASSC’s support and the staff’s wholehearted effort to help every survivor who knocks on their door is the reason for my and hundreds of other survivors’ success in the US.
— TASSC Survivor

To be a survivor

means to learn from the bad and painful experience of torture - to stand up, work hard and help others. As a survivor, I have not been broken; I have become stronger.

-TASSC Survivor

 Who are Survivors?

TASSC Survivors come from many different backgrounds and countries around the world. Each survivor has had a unique experience, but they share one thing in common - they are courageous men and women persecuted for standing up for human rights.

While each experience varies, TASSC survivors were often tortured for participating in peaceful demonstrations, joining an opposition political organization, criticizing their government in the media, refusing to join the ruling party, being related to a political dissident, or because of their religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.  

In 2017, TASSC provided comprehensive services to 279 survivors from 21 different countries. tassc survivors were: 


From Ethiopia




Tortured for
Political Reasons


Aged 24-40


In the US less
than one year


Seeking Asylum
In The US


I advocated for

the preservation of the environment and for gender and minority rights. I was persecuted for denouncing corruption, criticizing the dictatorship in my country and for supporting a fellow journalist who was physically attacked by the police.

- TASSC Survivor


What is Torture?


Torture remains a persistent problem in as many as 141 countries around the world. The United Nations defines torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”


Torture is used for a variety of reasons, including: to break down the personalities of individuals viewed as threats to authoritarian regimes or to terrorize or destroy entire communities, including ethnic, religious, and political groups. However, contrary to what many governments claim, torture is not an effective way to obtain valuable information.

During extreme physical and psychological stress, a person might confess anything to make the torture stop. These confessions are not legal and do not contribute to honest investigative efforts. Rather,  they might lead to wrongful convictions and inefficient law enforcement.

At TASSC, we believe that torture is never, under any circumstance, justified, and we remain committed to our fight for the abolition of torture worldwide.


Help us to end torture.