Logo for the Center for Victims of Torture

The Democratic Republic of Congo

Last updated: March 21, 2024

CVT Past Project

For more than five years, a regional conflict raged in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), leaving 5.4 million dead, 1.7 million people displaced and countless torture and trauma survivors.

Our project in the DRC provided mental health care to men, women and children who were tortured during the violent conflict. We hired and trained local counselors to lead counseling groups and reach out to the community. Expatriate psychotherapists supervised these counselors and provided individual counseling to men and women who need additional care.

Between 2007 and 2012, we helped more than 4,800 survivors directly and conducted community events with thousands of Congolese to educate community members about the consequences of torture.

Though many kinds of violent torture were perpetrated in the DRC, rape was one of the most devastating. Sexual torture was used to unimaginable levels of frequency and severity. CVT addressed the needs of the large number of survivors, both male and female, and became the referral destination for counseling for cases of rape during armed conflict.

In addition to providing healing services, we:

Strengthening the Congolese Psychology Network
The Trauma Healing Initiative—Africa project provided training and coaching to local organizations and mental health professionals. We worked with clinical psychology faculty and students at the University of Lubumbashi, DRC, to create a strong mental health network that will continue to heal survivors of torture. The students gained hands-on experience in caring for survivors of torture and war trauma through internships with our community healing projects in Lubumbashi and Moba.  

This project is funded by The European Union’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) through December 2011.