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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 14-28

Tortured exiles on the streets: a research agenda and methodological challenge

1 independent researcher based in South Africa. He can be contacted at or through his human rights website www.craighigsonsmith.com.
2 researcher with the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Survivors (RCT)and Research Unit for General Practice, Aarhus University (Denmark)

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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The paired adversities of torture and exile form a particularly toxic combination that leaves people vulnerable to further abuse, and lacking support for recovery and integration. A descriptive study of tortured exiles living in Johannesburg explores this phenomenon in South Africa, and is presented as an example of a more widespread problem in the developing world. The authors argue that the challenges in studying this elusive group contribute greatly to its continued isolation and exclusion from care. A range of research challenges and possible solutions are discussed, including challenges relating to: sampling; the prevention of exploitation, distress and harm; interviewing challenges; language; research logistics; local laws; and care for research staff. Finally a broad research agenda is proposed in the hope that better information about tortured exiles living in the developing world will assist policy makers and service providers to build stronger and more accessible systems for the protection and support of this vulnerable group.

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