History

Our co-founders Helen Bamber OBE and Dr Michael Korzinski met at the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture in the late 1980s. Helen was its founder and director, Michael a PhD student and later senior clinician. They left to set up the Helen Bamber Foundation in 2005.

The Helen Bamber Foundation grew out of a recognition that people who had experienced a variety of human rights abuses described their ordeals similarly to people tortured in the traditional sense (see the UN Geneva Convention from 1951 definition), and they presented with similar physical and psychological symptoms to those more commonly recognised. At the time, people with trafficking experiences, former child soldiers and women who had suffered genital mutilation could not access services offered to victims of torture, and their traumas often went undiagnosed or untreated in the NHS.

Today, the Helen Bamber Foundation is the only human rights organisation in the UK treating these survivors. Our experience of listening and responding to so many clients has enabled us to understand the connections between one violation and another, and meet the needs of the new generation of survivors.