[From the Forward]
According to Council Directive 2003/9/EC of January 27th 2003 laying down minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers, the Member States have to take into account the specific situation of vulnerable persons among other applicants who have been subjected to torture, rape or other serious forms of psychological, physical or sexual violence. This provision shall apply only to applicants recognized as having special needs, after an individual assessment of their situation.
Noticing that most of the Member States do or could not fulfil those obligations, six partner NGOs from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands, along with an international NGO as associate partner, have decided to develop a process of early recognition and orientation of torture victims or victims of serious forms of psychological, physical or sexual violence.
This process aims at helping both the national authorities in charge of the reception of asylum seekers and those in charge of the determination of refugee status to identify vulnerable persons having suffered severe traumatic experiences in order to provide them with :
• adapted material reception conditions, • appropriate physical and mental health care, • adequate support through their asylum appliance.
All the partner organizations that developed the project are or have been involved in the rehabilitation and care of torture victims. The project has been carried out with the input from direct beneficiaries (refugees and/or torture victims, organizations working in the field of asylum, at local, national or European level) and the financial support of the European Commission.
A Questionnaire of identification has been elaborated which intends to be implemented throughout European countries. It is based on up-to-date scientific knowledge and has been developed to be used by both medical as non-medical professionals, as well as volunteers in the framework of a first screening and orientation of the persons at risk. It is focused on the signs and symptoms of the most common mental health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression in order to identify vulnerable asylum seekers having suffered traumatic experiences.
The ten-point Questionnaire has been designed to be as simple and practical as possible. It is completed by a "Frequently Asked Questions" list. Together with the Questionnaire itself it constitutes the PROTECT booklet that assists the interviewer. The list contains information on how to ask the questions in a proper way, clarifies their meaning and gives suggestions on how to react in case of unforeseen (behavioural) problems.
The Questionnaire is presented here below.
This final report includes :
• an assessment of the relevant instruments of the Common European Asylum
System : European directives on reception conditions, on asylum procedures
and on qualification and the Dublin regulation (in force and recently proposed
• a summary of the main obstacles and challenges for the implementation of the tool,
• a detailed presentation of the tool’s rationale, of its underlying scientific basis and its value and impartiality,
• guidelines for the implementation of the tool,
• as appendices :
* Some references of international legislation and scientific documentation
* The "Frequently asked Questions" list included in the PROTECT booklet.
All documents are available in seven European languages (English, French, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Bulgarian and Spanish). The Questionnaire is available in several of the main languages spoken by asylum seekers in Europe.
View the report and questionnaire :