ESTSS Statement on Forced Displacement

ESTSS Statement on Forced Displacement

Europe is facing a refugee crisis, the like of which it has not seen since 1945. According to figures issued by the UNHCR, more than 320, 000 people have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year, in a bid to escape war, state persecution and other harrowing circumstances.
The board of the ESTSS is calling on European Governments and their populations to embrace the qualities of dignity, equality, and solidarity, that they laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and to help lessen the suffering of vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers.
The ESTSS is a scientific organisation, dedicated to the dissemination of evidence-based policy on the support and treatment of populations affected by trauma. Consequently, we would like to draw attention to the following points:
- Scientific evidence suggests that solidarity and social support increase resilience and that fear undermines it. We urge political commentators and others in the public eye to remember this, and to avoid inaccurate and incendiary rhetoric. Such language is not only harmful to those in need of resettlement, but will also, we believe, weaken the capacity of host countries to function as strong and inclusive societies that embody the best of European values.
- While the ability to survive such journeys, do illustrate the extraordinary levels of resilience and resourcefulness ordinary people are capable of, some individuals who have been exposed to horrifying violence, may have needs that go beyond just shelter. Some vulnerable individuals, including children in particular, may require additional evidence-based care.
- To meet this demand, local authorities and relevant civic organisations should be briefed on the impact of trauma and given adequate resources to identify those in need of appropriate psycho-education and follow-up care. (Below are a list of resources and organisations with relevant knowledge that might consult. In particular we urge them to refer to the TENTS guidelines, which the ESTSS produced for the European Union.)

The European Society of Traumatic Stress Studies promotes the sharing of knowledge and experience about all aspects of psychotraumatology. We do this by fostering research and best practice, building networks, and by contributing to public policy at a European level.

The main objectives of ESTSS, contained within the ESTSS mission statement, are:
• To increase and disseminate knowledge of traumatic stress based on good science.
• To identify cross European issues, such as differences in training and certification.
• To stimulate cross European training for different levels of certification.
• To stimulate and help to set up local societies in different European countries.
• To help establish European wide research on traumatic stress.
• To focus on European issues relating to traumatic stress, e.g. disaster response, uniform services, child abuse etc.
• To liaise with pan-European and international organisations/bodies.

Foundation Centrum 45
Psychotrauma Centrum Zuid
GGZ Drenthe / De Evenaar
VIVO at the University of Kostanz
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims

Here you can find a list of "Psychosocial Centres for Refugees and Torture Victims" in

List of centres in Austria:

NIPE-network (network for intercultural psychotherapy after extreme traumatization):
OMEGA (transcultural centre for psychological and physical health and integration):
Diakonie-Flüchtlingsdienst (psychotherapy for refugees):

For more information:


Board of ESTSS (2013-2015)