Records of Royal College of Psychiatrists relating to the Special Committee on Unethical Psychiatric Practices

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Papers relating to the Special Committee on Unethical Psychiatric Practices include minutes of meetings, reports, and correspondence. The records comprise the following:

RCPSYCH/D5/1 - Agenda and minutes of the Special Committee on Political Abuse of Psychiatry and its successor committees, 1978 - 2007.

RCPSYCH/D5/2 - Correspondence and reports relating to the political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union, 1973 - 1991.

RCPSYCH/D5/3 - Correspondence and reports relating to the political abuse of psychiatry in South Africa, 1978 - 1993.

RCPSYCH/D5/4 - Correspondence and reports relating to the political abuse of psychiatry in Japan, 1985 - 1991.

RCPSYCH/D5/5 - Correspondence and reports relating to the political abuse of psychiatry in Romania, 1978 - 1992.

RCPSYCH/D5/6 - Correspondence and reports relating the political abuse of psychiatry in Lithuania, 1991 - 1992.

RCPSYCH/D5/7 - Correspondence and reports relating to the political abuse of psychiatry in Sudan, 1990 - 1992

RCPSYCH/D5/8 - Files relating to victims of the political abuse of psychiatry inside and outside the Soviet Unionon. (The files are arranged in alphabetic order), 1972 - 1999.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Special Committee on Unethical Psychiatric Practices was set up in 1978 by the Council of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, in the wake of the condemnation of the Soviet misuse of psychiatry to suppress dissent. Its remit was to consider all reports on the political abuse of psychiatry wherever it might occur and to recommend what action the College might take. The Committee was was not to go into formal links with other bodies, but could seek help and advice from other organisations like, Amnesty International and Campaign Against Psychiatric Abuses when this was felt to be necessary.

The Committee was initially known as the Special Committee on the Political Abuse of Psychiatry, since it mainly focused only on political abuse of psychiatry. In the long run as other issues were brought to the Committee`s attention, its remit was accordingly widened, as reflected in its new title, the Special Committee on Unethical Psychiatric Practices, which was adopted in 1986. Other issues dealt with by the Special Commitee included: 1) The unequal provision of psychiatric services in South Africa, based on race; 2) The use of torture in interrogation procedures and its psychiatric sequalae; 3) The application of psychological techniques to harass prisoners in Uruguay; and 4) The serious malpractices of psychiatry in Japan.

In 1994 the Special Committee became the Ethics Working Group of the Public Policy Committee. In 1996 the Group changed its name to become the Ethics Sub-Committee, and in 2006 the Committee became a sub committee of the Special Committee on Professional Governance and Ethics (SCPGE), which eventually changed its name to become the current Special Committee for Professional Practice and Ethics.

Conditions Governing Access

This archive is subject to the 30 year closure rule. Access to the material which is open is by appointment with the Archivist on telephone: 0207 235 2351 ext. 6169, e-mail: archives@rcpsych.ac.uk .The College Archives is open Mondays to Fridays from 09.30hrs to 16.30hrs. The Archives is not open during weekends and bank holidays.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Francis Maunze, Archivist and Records Manager, March 2012.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction of archives is subject to the requirements of the College Preservation Policy.

Appraisal Information

The files have been kept in full on the advice of Dr Birley a former chairman of the Special Committee.

Accruals

Further additions to the archive are expected from the records of the Special Committee for Professional Practice and Ethics.