Rehabilitation centre for stress and trauma Zagreb (RCT) began operating in 1993 as a multidisciplinary program of psychosocial assistance for BOSWOFAM (Bosnian Women and Families), focused on women – refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, including a large number of victims of torture and their families. The program was supported by the European Commission (1993-95) and organized by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) from Copenhagen and was hosted by a professor of psychology at the University of Copenhagen, Libby Tata Arcel. Composition of the team, since the beginning, was multinational. In the initial period, among colleagues, were professionals and paraprofessionals from Bosnia, refugees themselves and a number of prominent local experts – clinicians and researchers.
Approach to rehabilitation has been multidisciplinary form the beginning so that effects on psychological, biological and social systems could be understood. This approach reflected the fact that response to trauma was universal and could not be understood from only one way of thinking.
The center was named the International Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims (IRCT Zagreb) as a representative of the International Rehabilitation Council of Torture Victims (IRCT) from Copenhagen until 1998.
Since 1998 is an independent non-governmental organization, and in 2010 was renamed The Rehabilitation Center for Stress and Trauma – RCT.
With membership in the international network of rehabilitation centers in the RCT and the European network of rehabilitation centers, RCT Zagreb is a member of a regional network of rehabilitation centers Balkan Network.
In the postwar period, the focus of activities are long-term effects of war trauma on the individuals, groups and communities, rehabilitation of torture victims and major human rights violations and support in integration into society.
In addition to refugees, displaced persons, returnees, immigrants in Croatia, more recently, as users appear and asylum seekers whose number will grow with Croatian accession to the EU.
The work in the war-affected communities aims to contribute to social reconstruction. The activities with which we want to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship of psychology and law (justice, justice, impunity) are support for victims and witnesses of war crimes, and training and supervision of experts,
It is important to mention that after the war, major social changes, migrations and experiences of trauma (particularly torture, where the goal is to break a person and her/his community) – one of the consequences are poverty, weakening institutions, a sense of powerlessness, and the possibilities and willingness of society to address such issues. Therefore, through the activities of empowerment and support with employment of vulnerable groups, support in the integration of young people leaving welfare, support for local communities to empower the key people and partnership activities in a variety of measures to improve the mental health-we operate in the way “from the base to the top.”
In nearly 20 years of diverse services we include approximately 7000 direct and indirect beneficiaries.
Regular training for professionals in the field of torture, trauma, stress, the types and effects, rehabilitation, therapeutic approaches, the psychology of trauma and testimony, and other topics related to the prevalence of trauma and the improvement of mental health especially in communities with fewer opportunities – covers about 2,000 professionals, volunteers, activists in the field of mental health, education, justice, human rights in Croatia and Bosnia.
The Center has enabled the practice and participation in researches for social studies students and international exchange students.
Members and associates from RCT provide education and support (counseling, supervision) to organizations and institutions dealing with human rights, mental health and social work.
With the annual campaign marking 26.June, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we regularly join the co-world action of rehabilitation centers (the IRCT Copenhagen) in support of the victims and a common saying to the world that torture is cruel violation of human rights.
RCT is cooperating with non-governmental organizations dealing with human rights through activities advocating rights of civilian victims of war and torture victims. We are trying to connect the law and psychology through psychological support of victims – the (potential) witnesses of war crimes during trials, and through training and supervisory support of staff and volunteers in witnesses support offices – victims of crime.