PCATI’s Fieldwork Director is responsible for handling communication from torture victims and for identifying potential complainants in possible need of legal assistance – when a case of torture or ill-treatment is exposed on social media, for example. The Fieldwork Director speaks with the potential complainant to assess the allegations and decide whether or not to pass the details along to the Legal Department. When complaints do reach this stage, the Fieldwork Director arranges for an attorney to visit the potential complainant and give their legal opinion on the fortuitousness of continuing with the case and filing a complaint. After these visits, the Fieldwork Director keeps tabs on the testimonies collected by the attorneys and keeps a record of each visit.
The Fieldwork Director also locates prisoners whose cases are being handled by PCATI. In 2014 the Fieldwork Department filed 21 requests to locate a total of 1,235 prisoners with the Command Control Center of the Prisoner Division of the Israel Prison Service. In addition, the Fieldwork Director maintains PCATI’s relationship with activists, with families of torture victims and with various Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations, and oversees referrals from other Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations.
In 2014 PCATI received 658 new requests: 469 from Palestinian organizations, 139 from Israeli organizations and 50 initiated by torture victims, their attorneys or relatives.
Between 2011 and 2014 PCATI personnel visited 850 confirmed or suspected victims of torture and ill-treatment.
The fieldwork is carried out by the Fieldwork Director and the Field Researcher, who work alongside attorneys from the Legal Department and attorneys who partner with PCATI. Complaints reach PCATI from individuals who have suffered torture and ill-treatment in Israel at the hands of the authorities, whether the ISA, Police, Border Police, Special Patrol Units (Yassam), Israel Defense Forces or Israel Prison Service.
Since January 2016 PCATI is participating, as a part of the organization’s field work, in the project “Towards a life of dignity for Palestinian minors in East Jerusalem”. The project’s duration is one year, starting January and ending December 2016.
The project aims at delivering legal and psychosocial/emotional awareness content to minors in schools in East Jerusalem ages 12-18 regarding. The project also provides psychosocial support and emotional awareness to children and their families especially those who experienced arrests by Israeli security forces.
Sawa, a Palestinian NGO aimed to eliminate violence against women and children in all its forms, delivers the psychosocial component of the project, while PCATI delivers the legal awareness component. This pilot project is an opportunity for both organizations to learn to work together, and to accumulate learning and experiences in developing relevant materials in Arabic, ensuring that it is child-friendly and applicable.