Identity is the difference between what a person wants to be and what the world permits him to be. (Erik H. Erikson)
For a long time, no effort was made in Switzerland to support and treat those traumatized by torture and war. The subject was hardly ever aired in public. It wasn't until 1990 that a study commissioned by the Swiss Red Cross ("The Language of Extreme Violence", H.R. Wicker, 1991) highlighted the extent to which recognized refugees, including those living in Switzerland, are affected by systematic violence. On the basis of this study, the first treatment centre for victims of torture (TZFO) was established in Switzerland in 1995. In 2002, it was renamed the Swiss Red Cross Outpatient Clinic for Victims of Torture and War (AFK).
Due to the high demand for the AFK's services, three further outpatient clinics were opened in 2003 and 2004 with the financial support of the Swiss Red Cross and the Holocaust Fund:
- AFK Zurich, Psychiatric Polyclinic, Zurich University Hospital
- Consultation for Victims of Torture and War (CTG) Lausanne, Verein Appartenances-Vaud, Lausanne
- Consultation for Victims of Torture and War (CTG) Geneva, Geneva University Hospitals
Since 2008, the four treatment centres have been part of the "Support for TortureVictims" association and have been encouraging intensive, specialist interaction.