ACOPLE - Community-Based Treatment Services for Afro-Colombian Victims of Torture

The Community-Based Treatment Services for Afro-Colombian Victims of Torture program seeks to develop and implement evidence-based, effective, and culturally appropriate mental health services for victims of torture on Colombia’s Pacific Coast, expand holistic services to victims, and build the capacity of Afro-Colombian civil society organizations to address the needs of torture survivors during and after the project period. Program activities will focus on the departments of Valle del Cauca and Chocó, which have experienced the highest rates of displacement and violence against non-combatants in the country. The project objectives include assessing the prevalence and impact of torture on Afro-Colombian survivors to provide a baseline for program design; providing context-specific, replicable, and effective mental health service for 1050 survivors; and developing the long-term capacity of Afro-Colombian civil society organizations and authorities to respond to the full range of treatment and support needs of survivors.


The program utilizes a community-based primary health care service delivery model because of the dispersion of torture survivors across urban communities on the Pacific coast. These services are provided through a network of local mental health workers to build survivors' trust and empower local communities. The components of the community-based treatment include 1) psychoeducation: informing the survivor about the health consequences of torture and promoting an understanding of the symptoms he or she may be experiencing as normal responses to horrific events, 2) providing a means for survivors to address their stress reactions with relaxation techniques and management of intrusive thought, and 3) reestablishment of the psychological processes of healthy affect modulation and cognitive processing. Psychosocial support and service provision in local communities is augmented by more intensive treatment at HAI's rehabilitation clinic in Buenaventura - a center for training and project coordination - as well as provision of medical, psychiatric, and social services for survivors with severe trauma and disability.

Cross-cutting issues



  • Colombia>Valle del Cauca


  • Health