Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors and Prevention of Torture: Priorities for Research Through a Modified Delphi Study

Pérez Sales et al. (2017) full text summary PDF

For which topic were research priorities identified?

rehabilitation of torture survivors and prevention of torture

In which location was the research priority setting conducted?


Why was it conducted at all?

There is much to do in the struggle against torture and to ensure that survivors have access to appropriate and effective rehabilitation. Research is a key element in this process, although it is often neglected as more pressing issues frequently come first. In a field were urgency is the norm, research is ethically and methodologically complex (Huggins, 2000; Newman, Willard, Sinclair, & Kaloupek, 2001). With survivors knocking on the door every day, research seems a secondary element only for welloff centres. But the truth is that there is an ethical responsibility towards those we serve to work according to well-established practices and we lack data (Amris & Arenas, 2004; Green, Rasmussen, & Rosenfeld, 2010). Torture evolves constantly and the literature of the 1980s and 1990s needs - as in every field - updating. New methods of torture, more sophisticated, more handsoff, appear. Research has been scarce and often repetitive and the future demands more innovative responses, new impulses and ideas (Manicavasagar et al., 2002). In this process, participation of survivors throughout the process of research is essential (Jackson, 2007).

What was the objective?

to establish global research priorities with a view to informing the future publishing priorities of the journal and at the same time assisting the wider torture community with a consensus with respect to research priorities

What was the outcome?

a ranking list of 40 research topics

How long did the research prioritization take?

No information provided.

Which methods were used to identify research priorities?


How were the priorities for research identified exactly?

Step 1: Delphi preliminary round: experts were asked to think and name three important research gaps with respect to torture in general and with respect to rehabilitation of survivors specifically, 119 initial topics identified. Step 2: Delphi round 1: experts were asked to review, comment on and edit initial set of 119 research topics, resulting in 174 research topics grouped into 8 categories. Step 3: Delphi round 2: participants were asked to rate the priority from the point of view of necessity and gaps to fill in the next five to ten years, also asked to rate feasibility. Step 4: Delphi round 3: list of the top 40 research priorities, participants were asked to rank what they considered to be the 10 most important research topics

Which stakeholders took part?

Experts in the field of prevention and rehabilitation of torture survivors: health professional/ rehabilitation (e.g. physician, forensic expert, psychiatrist, psychologist, physiotherapist, nurse), psychosocial worker (social worker, community worker, facilitator, peer-support group, trainer), legal professional (legal representative, lawyer, documentation and advocacy), primary activity (direct care or managerial/legal support/advocacy or academia/research). Delphi round 2: 62 participants. Delphi round 3: 44 participants.

How were stakeholders recruited?

No information provided.

Were stakeholders actively involved or did they just participate?

Stakeholders were mere participants of the research prioritization process; they were not actively involved in the process.