Freedom from Torture - Proving Torture

Proving Torture

Survivors of torture are being disbelieved and denied asylum, even when they present independent medical evidence.

Freedom from Torture's expert clinicians document torture scars and psychological trauma in line with international standards as part of a torture survivor’s asylum claim.

But a failure to understand this documentation leads to poor decision-making meaning that some torture survivors are being wrongly refused asylum. This causes years of uncertainty and unnecessary distress as they know they could be returned to their torturers. Legal appeals are harrowing for them and costly to UK taxpayers.

Our Proving Torture research

Our Proving Torture report analyses how 50 of Freedom from Torture’s expert medico-legal reports documenting evidence of torture were treated by asylum caseworkers in the UK Home Office.

The research reveals that existing policy guidance is not being followed and that our reports are poorly handled by caseworkers. Read our report, downloadable on this page, to find out more.


My concern for safety was very real. Any more delay and the window of opportunity would close. I couldn’t stop to collect evidence to prove my age, to prove that I am fleeing from torture to save my life, to prove that I was coming from this particular country, to prove that I was who I said I was saying to be ~ Member of the Survivors Speak OUT network

Campaign achievements

  • 41,000 signatures supporting our petition to the Home Office calling for a fair asylum system, and proper protections for torture survivors.
  • Westminster Hall debate on the serious issues raised by “Proving Torture”, with a number of MPs on all sides joining our call for torture survivors to get the help they need.
  • Public commitment from the previous Immigration Minister that the Home Office will work with us to help survivors:

I can assure Members that we are committed to getting decisions right the first time and to working with expert organisations such as Freedom from Torture to ensure that survivors of torture get the support they need.

  • 6,000 emails to MPs from supporters calling for a Home Affairs Committee inquiry, to make sure that the Home Office follow through on their promises. Over 80 MPs have written to the Home Affairs Committee or raised concerns with the Home Secretary or Immigration Minister.
Key points

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