CVT Literature Selection Q1 2021

This document is a resource for current literature, January through March, on the topic of the mental health status of and treatments for torture survivors, war trauma survivors, refugees, and asylum seekers. This also includes research in the area of social work that relates directly to the psychological well-being of these populations. The compilation below includes peer reviewed journal article citations in these areas and links to the publicly available abstracts and full text versions of these articles.

Switchboard's New Blog Series

New Blog Series: Refugees and Asylees Have the Right to Work

Busting Three Myths about Social Security Delays & Work Authorization
by Daniel Wilkinson
Service providers and clients around the nation continue to experience disruptions to early employment due to the impact of COVID-19. One important challenge has been the delay of documents often used to prove work authorization, particularly social security cards. This situation has brought to light several misconceptions commonly held by both employers and service providers regarding work authorization. In this blog post, we’ll bust some common myths regarding work authorization and social security numbers and cards and share some key resources and learning opportunities. 

Overcoming Two Key Challenges when Communicating with Employers about Work Authorization
by Daniel Wilkinson
Service providers often encounter difficulties when communicating with employers about work authorization. This post provides tips on overcoming two common challenges when employers request specific documents from refugees and asylees as they complete the I-9.

Office of Refugee Resettlement

The Services for Survivors of Torture program (SOT) is a program of the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Division of Refugee Health. It is committed to assisting persons who have experienced torture abroad and who are residing in the United States, to restore their dignity and health and rebuild their lives as they integrate into their communities.


All reports should be submitted directly to For assistance with GrantSolutions, you can contact their helpdesk:

FY2022 Reporting

Please see ORR Policy Letter 21-05 regarding

Boundaries in the Electronic Age

With the cell phone, tablets, home computers, and the internet social services and health care have undergone radical changes in the last two decades. This webinar will examine ethical and professional practice issues related to this evolution in methods of communication.  Use of internet searches on clients, communication via texting, the use of blogs and help sites, friending on social media sites, will be discussed along with things which may require the development of program policies and/or standards.

Staff of all

Psychological Issues and Techniques in Navigating the Asylum Process e-Consultation


This e-Consultation follows our webinar on Psychological Issues and Techniques in Navigating the Asylum Process on Febraury 14, 2018.  It is part of the National Capacity Buidling (NCB) project series of webinars. It was presented on February 21, 2018, and features Carol Gomez, Hawthorne Smith, and John Wilkinson. 


A state by state guide on who can complete the I-589 and provide legal advice on immigration law:

Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers

Psychological Issues and Techniques in Navigating the Asylum Process


Mental Health service providers can play an important role in the successful adjudication of the asylum process for traumatized migrant population. Our involvement is multifaceted and exists in a context full of challenges.  This two part measured impact webinar, entitled "Psychological Issues and Techniques in Navigating the Asylum Process" is designed to help mental health service providers navigate these complex issues.

Over the course of the two sessions, we will examine the central goals and areas of potential intervention in the asylum process.

Fundamentals: Legal Services Resources


 Immigration Dynamics - Processes, Challenges and Benefits.pdf (155.312 KB)

Advocates for Human Rights Pro Bono Asylum Representation Manual

Asylum Officer Basic Training Course Lesson Plan on Interviewing Survivors

Germain, R., AILA’s Asylum Primer:  A Practical Guide to U.S. Asylum Law and Procedure (7th Ed. 2015) - available for purchase
Preface available to read online here
Excerpt of Chapter 2: US Asylum Law available to read online here

Wilkinson, John, “Immigration Dynamics: Processes, Challenges, and Benefits,” in Smith, Hawthorne, Keller, Alan, and  Lhewa, DW, eds.

The diagnostic value of clinical examination after falanga

Amris K(1), Rasmussen OV, Baykal T, Lök V. Torture. 2009;19(1):5-11.

Medico-legal documentation of alleged exposure to falanga torture warrants a high diagnostic accuracy of the applied clinical tests. The objective of this study was to establish data on the validity of palpatory examination of the footpads and the plantar fascia and to assess the distribution of observations among selected cases and non-cases in a small study sample.

Who Is a Torture Survivor: Understanding the Legal Definitions of Torture

This Measured Impact Webinar discusses the legal definitions of torture and how they apply to eligibility determinations for Survivors of Torture programs. Presenters Annie Sovcik, Marie Soueid, and Faith Ray of the Center for Victims of Torture concentrate on the legal frameworks of the U.S. and U.N. definitions of torture, as well as the refugee definition. They include examples to illustrate cases that rise to the level of torture and cases that do not.

Effective Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Pro Bono Providers


In a recent survey conducted by CVT’s National Capacity Building Project to Survivors of Torture programs, many of you responded that when working with community providers, you experience significant challenges in developing effective, ongoing services for survivors.  In this webinar three torture treatment programs that have developed a network of successful pro bono relationships will discuss their strategies for recruiting and retaining this valuable resource and share special considerations to make when working with these providers.


After attending this webinar

Transforming the Immigrant Detention System

Recently released: a new report from Migration and Refugee Services/United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and The Center for Migration Studies on Unlocking Human Dignity: A Plan to Transform the U.S. Immigrant Detention System. We encourage you to read this document, especially the

Seeking Justice Against Perpetrators with CJA

By CVT intern Leah Owens

“Survivors of torture around the world will not be silenced. With the help of CJA we are rising up to hold our abusers accountable under the law. CJA’s victories are bringing us closer to a world in which state-sponsored torture is unacceptable.”

-Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel


Subscribe to RSS - Legal