A senior lecturer in Psychology at SETU was recently invited to address the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT).

On 14 June of this year, Dr Jennifer O’Mahoney attended the “Cultures of Victimology: understanding processes of victimisation across Europe” conference with two colleagues from COST Action project. 

The SPT is a new treaty body in the United Nations human rights system, with a specific focus on the prevention of torture and ill-treatment in places of detention. 

Ireland signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) in October 2007, but has yet to fully ratify it. Ratifying the Optional Protocol would afford the SPT the right to visit places of detention in Ireland and examine the treatment of people held there. 

Dr O’Mahoney explains, “The task of the SPT is to independently monitor places where people are detained and deprived of their liberty, such as psychiatric units, prisons, or detention centres, for example. Ratifying OPCAT will further support a culture of human rights in Ireland, and work to prevent future abuses.” 

Dr O’Mahoney and her colleagues Prof Simon Green of the University of Hull, UK and Dr Anita Dremel of the University of Osijek, Croatia engaged with the SPT about their research findings and legacy plans for their four-year COST Action, which focused on the role of culture in victimological processes.  

Speaking about the meeting with the subcommittee, Dr O’Mahoney explains, “Such collaborative exchanges of knowledge between academics and practitioners are essential to ensure that contemporaneous research is directly disseminated to NGOs, governments, and policymakers. We all share the same goal of ensuring that people who have experienced maltreatment will have their diverse needs met appropriately.”