VAST provides trauma recovery services and a Healing Community, with either group support or individual counselling. VAST wellness support services are provided at no cost, for individuals or families in need. Usually VAST will refer out to one of our partners for individuals dealing with an active addiction, or for couples therapy, or family therapy (although we may be available to work with all members of the family).
BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC)
BC Cancer Agency
BC Center for Palliative Care
BC Children’s Hospital
BC Health Coalition
BC Mental Health & Addictions
BC Refugee Hub
British Columbia Institute of Technology
Burnaby Family Life
Burnaby Multicultural Society
Burnaby School Board
Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR)
Canadian Mental Health Association BC (CMHA)
Canadian Red Cross
Catholic Social Services
Centre for Gender & Sexual Health Equity
Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society
Chilliwack Immigrant Services
City of Surrey Health
City of Vancouver
Collingwood Neighbourhood House
Comisión de la Verdad de Colombia
Coquitlam School Board
Francophone Settlement Agency
Genesis GV Counseling
HIPPY Canada Central
Hjorth Road Elementary School
Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria
Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISSofBC)
Langley School Board
Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House
Pacific Immigrant Resources Society
Rainbow Refugee Committee
Red Cross First Contact
RMH Health Initiative
Settlement Orientation Services
SHARE- MP Family Centre
Simon Fraser University
Smithers Community Services Association
St. Leonard’s Youth and Family Services
SUCCESS Settlement Workers and LINC iInstructors
Surrey School Board
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
UBC Occupational Therapy
UBC School of Social Work
Umoja Operation Compassion Society of British Columbia
Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH)
Vancouver Community College (VCC)
Vancouver & Lower Mainland Multicultural Family Support Services Society (VLMFSS)
Vancouver Police Department
Vancouver School Board (VSB)
Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society
VAST is an interdisciplinary organization raising our voice against all types of torture and working towards the rehabilitation of torture survivors.
We believe that when we achieve a better understanding of the violence that affects people, and when we better understand how to heal from this violence, and when we organize in a community to reduce this violence, we achieve a better safer world for all.
Since 1986, VAST has been supporting the healing of survivors, while providing documentation of torture and advisory on torture prevention and awareness in Vancouver. VAST works with refugees, immigrants, doctors, medical students, lawyers, law enforcement, schools, and health professionals.
In 2018, VAST entered into an exciting new collaboration with the founders of the RAHAT Medical Journal and the Voices Against Torture (VAT) Rehabilitation Center, Dr. Farooq Mehdi and Rahila Farooq, to consolidate our existing work and launch the VAST Research and Documentation Centre (VRDC). In 2020, the VRDC launched the semi-annual interdisciplinary journal Voices Against Torture.
The VRDC currently includes the following components:
Repository/Library of Resources: An online and physical multidisciplinary collection of resources related to torture, trauma, and human rights, with a focus on education, documentation, rehabilitation, healing, and community building among survivors. Collection of 1) Video (including VAST Youtube channel) 2) audio 3) reference books 4) local & international news items 5) research articles 6) client data analysis 7) Country or Region-specific torture/human rights related context (to support more effective rehabilitation supports for groups from there).
Training and Capacity Building: VAST offers training and professional development workshops on refugee mental health and recovery from trauma and torture, for health, education, and social service providers, law firms, and practicum students.
Documentation: Counsellors and Psychiatrists do psycho-legal and psycho-medical documentation, we coordinate with Law Firms representing survivors.
Tracking: types of torture, how many clients VAST is helping, the extent of VAST’s work. Coordinate with the IRCT for Global Data in the Fight Against Impunity Project.
Research (measures of effectiveness): Partner with Universities, supervise student projects.
Any Publications from team members.
Advocacy: For the prevention of torture, and to raise awareness about human rights issues and violence affecting minorities, indigenous people, and refugees. We train/guide former clients to become spokespeople for refugees, refugee claimants, and mental health needs, and against torture. Newsletter containing some of the below. Direct links to Witness and Amnesty, etc. Social Media. participate in walks, etc.