Health care after torture  

Vård efter tortyr - engelskaThe content concerns Skåne

Torture is when someone hurts another person on purpose. For instance in order to frighten or humiliate them. Torture is prohibited. You can get help if you’ve been tortured. 

Torture involves a lot of pain or great suffering. 

What is torture? 

Here are some examples of torture: 

  • You’re beaten or kicked.
  • You’re tied up for a long time.
  • You’re kept prisoner and not allowed to eat, sleep or take medicine, for instance.
  • You’re raped or submitted to other sexual violence. 
  • You’re forced to watch when someone else is tortured. 

Torture is a crime against human rights.

Common to feel unwell afterwards 

It’s common to feel unwell after torture. 

You may start feeling unwell straight after the event, or a long time afterwards.  

How you may feel after torture: 

  • You struggle to sleep, and have nightmares.
  • You often feel sad, scared, or angry. 
  • You’re ashamed, or feel that the torture was your fault.
  • You don’t want to live anymore.
  • You feel that nothing makes you happy, or that nothing matters.
  • You have headaches or pain in other parts of your body. It may hurt all the time, or very often.
  • Your vision and hearing get worse.
  • Your heart beats extra fast. 
  • You don’t trust others, and avoid seeing people.
  • You think about the terrible thing that happened often. Things in everyday life can remind you of the event. That feels like you’re experiencing the terrible thing again.

If you are unwell for a long time, you may have PTSD. PTSD is also called post-traumatic stress disorder. You can get help for PTSD. 

Advice if you feel bad after experiencing something frightening

Seek support and care 

Call your health care centre if you’ve been tortured. It’s good to seek care as soon as possible. But you can also seek care later if you feel unwell.

Dial 112 if you feel very unwell. You can also seek care at a psychiatric emergency clinic.

If you’re under 18

Are you under the age of 18? You can also call a youth guidance centre, or go to student health at your school.

You can call advice line ’A Way In’ (En väg in) on 020-51 20 20. They’ll help you to get help. For instance from a doctor or psychologist for children and young people.

Report torture to the police

It’s also a good idea to report the torture to the police. You can report it even if it took place in a different country.

Call 114 14. You can speak Swedish or English.

What happens at an examination 

You’ll meet a doctor or nurse. You’ll be examined, and asked about how you feel.

Then, you’ll find out what care you need. You may, for instance, need to talk to someone about what’s happened. Sometimes, you may also need other treatment or medicines.

Everyone in health care is bound by confidentiality. That means that they’re not allowed to speak about you to others outside health care. 

Do you not understand Swedish? Mention that when you seek care. The health care staff will book an interpreter for you. The interpreter is also bound by confidentiality.

What can I do to feel better?

Speak to someone about how you feel. It could be a person you know, or someone in health care.

You can also write about what’s happened and how you feel. It may help you to feel better.

Here are some other things that may help:

  • Go out and move your body. You can go for walks, for instance.
  • Try to sleep and eat at the same times every day.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. At first, it may feel like it’s helping, but then it will make you feel worse.

If you know someone who has been tortured 

Do you know someone who has been tortured? You may also feel unwell, and may need help. Call a health care centre to get help.

Are you under the age of 18? You can also do this:

  • Call a youth guidance centre.
    Youth guidance centres in Skåne
  • Visit student health at your school.
  • Call advice line ’A Way In’ on 020 51 20 20. They’ll help you to get help. For instance from a doctor or psychologist for children and young people.
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