Why I love my job – Dr Charlotte Chapman

Thinking about the horror of torture can keep me awake at night.
But my work to fight it gets me up in the morning.

I work with the clinical and advocacy departments as health and
human rights adviser. I examine clients and take testimonies,
documenting physical and psychological consequences from torture.
Most of my clients are young women who have survived physical and
sexual violence in their countries of origin, only to face further
hardship as asylum seekers here in the UK.

In my second role as an advocacy officer I take up issues
arising from my clinical work. I conduct research which enables the
foundation to challenge human rights abuses. I also write briefings
presenting the foundation’s view to parliamentary committees,
government ministers, or the UN. It is satisfying to know that as
well as offering clients help, I can campaign on their behalf.

I first joined the foundation as an NHS volunteer. It is
multi-disciplinary work and I have learned much from working with
counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists, social workers,
lawyers and interpreters. That holistic approach attracted me to
work here full-time. The result has been increased job satisfaction
and the opportunity to take on roles unavailable to a hospital

In the NHS, I often felt frustrated by difficulties confronted
by marginalised groups in accessing health care and by the lack of
time available for patients. The foundation allows me time to sit
with clients until they feel able to reveal what they endured.

My work is dictated by external as well as clinical factors,
like changes in asylum legislation which is frustrating.

Another concern is the apparent willingness among politicians to
ignore the lessons of the past. The foundation stands against all
forms of torture. I am proud to work for it.


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