Online proceedings for the IRCT General Assembly and 10th International Scientific Symposium - Delivering on the Promise of the Right to Rehabilitation

Time: 17:10 to 17:30

Lived experience of torture among slum dwellers in Dhaka city, Bangladesh

Presenter(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Md. Mofijul Islam Bulbul ( Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors (CRTS) - Bangladesh ), Dr. Tohfa-e Ayub ( Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors (CRTS) - Bangladesh )


Bangladesh has the highest number of slum dwellers 60% of the urban population in the South Asian region, according to BBS (BBS, 2013). The number of slum dwellers is increasing in proportion to the population growth (Islam et al, 1997). The life on slum is vulnerary exposed to injuries followed by physical trauma as well as psychological trauma (Staats et al., 2003). Physical trauma common among slum dwellers: about 83% of women and 29% of males had been physically assaulted while living as slums (Koehlmoos et al., 2009).


Aim of this study was to explore lived experiences of physical trauma and torture and care seeking behaviors after torture of slum dwellers in Dhaka city, Bangladesh. We conducted qualitative study from December 2014 to May 2015, using observation (n=20), in-depth interview (n=30), focus group discussion (n=4), body mapping (n=30) in korail and sat-tola slum areas at Dhaka, Bangladesh. Maxwell's iterative study design was adopted to evaluate the objective. Either written or verbal consent was taken from the respondents before IDIs and body mapping where it was appropriate. A set of guidelines were used to conduct IDIs and FGDs. Ethical clearance was taken from Bangladesh Medical Research Council. Snowball sampling technique was used in this research to identify the torture victims in the slum areas.


The most commonly reported forms of physical trauma were beatings by police, eviction and rape or sexual assault. Loss of money, physical injuries that hinder their work capacity & earning, feeling of despair, sense of insecurity were found as impact of physical trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder was found in many of the respondents and PTSD is often associated with depression, anxiety, alcohol and substance abuse, and somatic disease. A high number was assessed as being at risk of suicide after rape or sexual assault. Most common form of care seeking behavior is ``Health Care'' and common place is Govt. Hospital as it is free of cost but lack of concern of health workers are the main reason for not seeking health care. Most of the slum dwellers seek care from their family as social care. There is no health service-delivery mechanism targeting this marginalized group of people from government.

Funding & No Conflicts Declaration

We have no conflict of interest with no one. We received a small fund to conduct this study from Public Health Foundation of Bangladesh.

By continuing your visit to this website, you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy. Yes I accept