23 May 2019
Forensic documentation and rehabilitation: New issue from the Torture Journal

The latest issue of the Torture Journal reveals new, innovative insights on torture documentation and rehabilitation approaches from leading academics and researchers globally.

Forensic documentation and rehabilitation: New issue from the Torture Journal

The focus of the latest issue is on forensic documentation of torture. The issue explores documentation in detail regarding its strengths, limitations and innovative new ideas, such as documentation procedures among specific sub-groups. Fresh research and perspectives on sport-based rehabilitation, as well as other key topics, also comprise the issue. Amongst the 17 different contributions to the issue, readers will advance their knowledge of:

  • Story-symptom consistency analysis: One paper quantitatively analyses medico-legal reports to investigate the determinants of symptom-story consistency and their consequences for judicial outcomes among traumatised asylum seekers in the Netherlands. Another paper unravels the challenges and ethical quandaries faced when conducting consistency analysis among children and youth, when compared to adults.
  • Application of the Istanbul Protocol: A global study outlines the benefits and limitations of the Istanbul Protocol, identifying how it could be strengthened. Based on forensic assessment of survivors of the Santa Barbara massacre in Peru, one paper demonstrates that application of the Istanbul Protocol can successfully include a participatory-based research approach and an anthropological perspective. Another paper analyses the decision of the European Court of Human Rights not to re-open the landmark 1976 Ireland vs UK case, as well as the possible ramifications for future cases.
  • Sport-based rehabilitation: Two different mixed-methods papers demonstrate the impact of sport for enabling healing. Football groups in London assist in fostering confidence and healing for tortured refugees; and capoeira, a blend of dance and non-combat martial arts, is addressing antisocial behaviours and supporting learning among school-aged refugees in Australia.

The special section on Forensic documentation of torture: Reflections and learnings on the Istanbul Protocol is a timely contribution in light of the update of the Istanbul Protocol currently ongoing.

The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, along with other organisations and key experts, first finalised the Istanbul Protocol in 1999. Since then, it has been the document used to produce reliable medical evidence of torture so victims can claim reparation and rehabilitation, enhancing an understanding of what constitutes torture. It does so by helping to ensure that judicial and administrative procedures accommodate the specific needs of torture victims.

It is hoped that this issue fosters discussion on forensic documentation of torture and other pertinent issues for the anti-torture sector, and informs further research and practice.

For more information

Launched in 1991, the Torture Journal is an interdisciplinary scientific journal on rehabilitation of torture victims and prevention of torture. The full contents of the latest issue is available free-of-charge here and you can subscribe to the Journal here. Please contact Harry Shepherd at hsh@irct.org for any questions related to the Torture Journal or visit here.

“The Istanbul Protocol is deemed important to professionals from a diverse demographic background and is used for: public knowledge, capacity building, investigations, promoting laws, advocacy, documenting torture, and rehabilitating torture survivors. Updating the Istanbul Protocol may make it more accessible, practical, and inclusive of new and timely material. However, an update may also pose risks.”

Haar et al. (2019) analyse results from a global survey among IP stakeholders

 

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