Home About us CRTV – IAN Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims

CRTV – IAN Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims

What is torture?

According to United Nations’ “Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment“:

“torture” means: 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. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.


IAN was founded with the immediate goal of establishing a Trauma centre that would provide direct, free of charge psychological assistance, both through an SOS phone service and face-to-face counselling, for victims of war and violence.

IAN Trauma Centre began to work in December 1997 and was the first, principle and core programme designed and implemented in IAN.

IAN Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (CRTV) started to work in September 2000, with the financial support of the European Commission. The program was established as a result of our efforts to provide specialized and comprehensive psychosocial assistance to individuals who suffered torture and other types of war-related traumatic experiences during the wars in the former Yugoslavia (1991-1995) and Kosovo (1998-1999), and to members of their families.

IAN CRTV is the only centre in Serbia that has been providing comprehensive assistance to victims of torture and members of their families for 17 years. Since its establishment, the Centre has been supported by many donors, including the European Commission and the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.

Comprehensive rehabilitation of victims implies psychological, psychotherapeutic, psychiatric, general and specialist medical assistance, legal counselling and advocacy. More than 8000 people have received some form of assistance through the work of our centre since its establishment. IAN experts are trained to provide assistance both in the Centre and in the field. Field work takes place through the work of a mobile team (doctor, psychologist, field coordinator) that helps victims who cannot reach our centre. Mobile teams of IAN CRTV have worked in collective centres, distant parts of the country where our clients live, as well as in reception centres where refugees and migrants from war-affected areas are accommodated.

Thanks to the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, IAN in cooperation with Centre for Torture Victims from Sarajevo implemented a program for providing comprehensive assistance to victims of torture and members of their families in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the period 2005-2015. Through the work of mobile teams, comprehensive assistance (psychological, medical assistance, medicines supplies) was provided to victims in various parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Visegrad, Bratunac, Srebrenica, Bijeljina, Trebinje, Sarajevo, etc.

From the establishment of IAN CRTV till today, users of our services have been victims of torture as well as members of their families who had experienced torture during the war in the former Yugoslavia, forcibly mobilized citizens and refugees during the war, victims of police torture in peacetime, people residing in closed institutions, etc. Since 2015 with the arrival of new refugees and migrants on the territory of Serbia, IAN CRTV has expanded its activities and provides assistance to refugees with a focus on victims of torture among them, who come from war-affected countries.

IAN CRTV has a long-term experience and expertise in documenting torture cases based on the Istanbul Protocol. The Istanbul Protocol is a manual for effective investigation and documentation of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

IAN was the national coordinator for Serbia on the project “Prevention through Documentation” (January 2006 – April 2009) led by IRCT and implemented in five countries, Serbia, Ecuador, Egypt, Kenya and the Philippines. The aim of the project was to improve knowledge among health workers and lawyers on the prevention of torture through the implementation of the Istanbul Protocol. IAN also conducted seminars on the topic of recognizing and documenting torture based on the Istanbul Protocol for Employees in Health Centres and Social Institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. These projects, as well as many years of experience in dealing with victims of torture, make IAN an expert centre in the field of identification and documentation of torture.

In addition to these seminars and training, IAN CRTV has conducted many trainings with the topic of war trauma, torture, psychological and physical consequences of traumatic experiences.

IAN CRTV is also focused on continuous training and education of its experts in the field of psychotherapy, mental health, human rights, etc.

Experts of IAN CRTV are psychologists, special pedagogues, psychiatrists, lawyers, forensics.., with extensive experience in working with highly traumatized people, including survivors of torture.

Since 2012, IAN has been a part of National Preventive Mechanism against Torture (NPM).

IAN has been very active in the field of research since its foundation. We conducted research projects through extensive analysis of data collected in daily work with traumatized clients as well as through interdisciplinary studies conducted in consortiums with reputable research institutions in Serbia and abroad.

Since the very establishment of the IAN, all direct assistance projects to users have been followed by data collection and highly standardized research. Comprehensive data on war traumatization and its effects on mental health of people have been collected.

Among others, IAN had two major research projects:

  • STOP – Seeking for treatment and treatment effects in people suffering from post-traumatic stress after the war and migration in the Balkans that took place in the period from 2002 to 2006, aimed at providing an empirical basis for designing programs to help people suffering post-traumatic stress, as well as contributing to the illumination of barrier treatment in people who do not seek help and improve the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of treatment for people who are being treated in specialized centres. The project was funded by the European Commission
  • PBPTSD – Psychobiology of post-traumatic stress disorder, which was implemented in the period 2004-2007, and aimed to bring new knowledge about the relationships between basic psychological variables and PTSD, biological variables and PTSD, biological and psychological variables in healthy and respondents with PTSD. This project was also financed by the European Commission.