About the Program
The Human Rights in Trauma Mental Health Program is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Stanford Law School faculty, and Stanford’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
The Program is committed to advancing and applying the scientific knowledge of the physical and psychiatric impact of trauma on survivors of human rights abuses with an eye towards informing transitional justice and judicial processes. The Program focuses on the science of the psychological changes and mental health pathology caused by trauma on individuals, their families, and their communities, over time and between generations. Program affiliates analyze and build upon the rich data available in the interdisciplinary scientific literature and developed in specific conflict situations to clearly identify the impact on human psychology of various forms of mass trauma, including genocide, mass killings, rape, and torture. This analysis is used to clarify the science and/or advocate for the survivors’ human rights and access to mental health in a whole range of settings, including criminal trials, civil suits for money damages, and asylum proceedings. The Program participates in these transitional justice processes in a range of ways, including by providing expert testimony and reports and consulting with the legal teams prosecuting perpetrators or representing victims.