The effect of the medico-legal evaluation on asylum seekers in the Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy: a pilot study
In the present-day situation, the clinical forensic documentation of an asylum seeker’s narrative and his or her examination, together with the physical and psychological findings, may have very important effects on the outcome of the request for political asylum. Since 2012, the Municipality of Milan, the University Institute of Legal Medicine, and other institutions have assembled a team with the task of examining vulnerable asylum seekers and preparing a medical report for the Territorial Commission for International Protection (Prefecture, Ministry of Interiors), who will assess the application. We compared medico-legal reports and outcomes of 57 cases which were evaluated by the Commission after having undergone a medico-legal evaluation through the Istanbul Protocol criteria and examined, in particular, which medico-legal variables seem associated to the outcome. The results show that forensic assessment seems to have a significant and interesting correlation with the final assessment given by the Commission. For example, the higher the level of consistency, according to the Istanbul Protocol, the more frequently protection is granted. These data show how important clinical forensic medicine can be in such scenarios and how the presence of clinical forensic experts should be encouraged in such evaluations, as has been recently enshrined in Italy in the guidelines of a Ministerial Decree of April 3rd, 2017 for the assistance and the rehabilitation as well as the treatment of psychiatric disorders in refugees and asylum seekers who have undergone torture, rape, and other severe forms of psychological, physical, or sexual violence.
KeywordsClinical forensic medicine Istanbul Protocol Asylum seekers Torture Refugees
We wish to thank the Municipality of Milano, in particular Cosimo Palazzo, Andrea Armocida, Antonella Colombo, and Giancarla Boreatti, for their past and present inspirations.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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