Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New forms of torture leave 'invisible scars,' say researchers

Date:
January 3, 2012
Source:
Queen Mary, University of London
Summary:
Use of torture around the world has not diminished but the techniques used have grown more complex and sophisticated, according to new research.

Use of torture around the world has not diminished but the techniques used have grown more complex and sophisticated, according to new research from Queen Mary, University of London.

The study suggests that these emerging forms of torture, which include various types of rape, bestiality and witnessing violent acts, are experienced by people seeking asylum in the UK.

In many cases the techniques cause no visible effect but are responsible for a variety of serious mental health problems. The researchers say that their findings are vital for understanding what many asylum seekers have endured and for ensuring the correct medical treatments are available.

The majority of countries signed a UN convention banning all forms of torture almost thirty years ago but the new research joins a body of evidence showing that the use of torture not only persists but is also widespread.

The researchers, led by Dr Nasir Warfa, based their study on asylum seekers who were being detained at Oakington Immigration Centre in Cambridgeshire. They carried out an audit of reports of torture over a six-month period. The results showed that 17 per cent of people at the Centre reported that they were tortured in their home countries.

Some reported cases of physical methods of torture such as being beaten with blunt objects, barbed wire, or fire. Other physical torture included various types of stabbing, covering with sugar water then exposed to insects, burning, finger or toenail extraction and foreign objects placed under nails.

Others experienced sexual torture including rape, forced bestiality, genital mutilation and forced abortion. Others still were suffocated or immersed in water, or forced to witness rape, violence or murder.

The majority of those who reported such incidents were fleeing African countries. Others had come from Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

"The torture reported by these people is horrific," said Kate Izycki, Senior Nurse who specialises in Transcultural Psychiatry. "This highlights that the use of torture continues and that the perpetrators are finding more elaborate methods; some of which often leave no physical mark."

Dr Warfa's previous research has shown that victims of torture are highly likely to suffer from severe mental health problems including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and feeling suicidal.

He adds: "Finding yourself in a foreign country where you must negotiate a difficult asylum system, where you cannot work and where you may not be able to speak the language would be difficult for anyone. Then add mental health problems caused by torture and the ever-present possibility of deportation."

"This new study clearly shows that we need to identify and address the health needs of those who have fled to the UK following torture in their home countries."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen Mary, University of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nasir Warfa, Kate Izycki, Edgar Jones, Kamaldeep Bhui. Contemporary methods of torture and sexual violence Medical record analysis. World Cultural Psychiatry Research Review, December 2011: 112-118

Cite This Page:

Queen Mary, University of London. "New forms of torture leave 'invisible scars,' say researchers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120103135323.htm>.
Queen Mary, University of London. (2012, January 3). New forms of torture leave 'invisible scars,' say researchers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120103135323.htm
Queen Mary, University of London. "New forms of torture leave 'invisible scars,' say researchers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120103135323.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program

NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program

AP (Apr. 15, 2014) The New York City Police Department has ended a program that once kept tabs on the city's muslim population. (April 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins