Supporting Survivors to Come Forward: Engaging with those impacted by trauma

Supporting Survivors to Come Forward: Engaging with those impacted by trauma


Engaging with witnesses and survivors in a manner sensitive to the trauma they may have suffered has been a central priority of UNITAD.  

Reflecting this approach, the Team established a dedicated team of psycho-social experts to ensure a trauma-informed approach is taken in all interviews.  In doing so, the Team aims to create conditions whereby witnesses can provide the fullest possible account while ensuring the utmost regard for their well-being.

In addition to mainstreaming a psycho-social capacity in the collection of testimonial evidence, the UNITAD Witness Protection and Support Unit has developed guidance documents and in-house training to enhance the ability of investigators to engage with vulnerable witnesses in a manner aligned with best practice.  This area of work has benefited from collaboration with the Human Rights in Trauma Mental Health Program at Stanford University who have supported the Team in the development of expert impact reports synthesizing available mental health data pertaining to those affected by crimes committed by ISIL.

At this meeting, UNITAD will launch the Trauma-Informed Investigations Field Guide”, a new publication drawing on the trauma-informed approached adopted by UNITAD to provide practical guidance to investigators in domestic and international entities with respect to their engagement with vulnerable survivors and witnesses.

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