Worcester Academics Welcome Nobel Peace Prize Winners


Dr Derek Farrell has been working with the Yezidi population for a number of years, developing and delivery the Trauma Capacity Building project, which has helped those affected by one of the world's biggest humanitarian crises.

Following the news that the Nobel Peace Prize had been awarded to Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege, Dr Farrell said: "Sexual violence is increasingly used in humanitarian crises, particularly during conflict, post conflict situations, and as a weapon of war. For most survivors " they know their aggressor. This often compounds their trauma. Current estimates indicate that only 5% report the incident to the police. Many survivors go on to experience mental health, behavioural and social difficulties.

"Awarding Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege the Nobel Peace Prize sends a powerful statement, in raising the profile of sexual violence, with regards to criminal justice, public health, survivor's well-being and in challenging directly the global burden of psychological trauma.

"These are two remarkable human beings thoroughly deserving this award, however this prestigious accolade is also for survivors the world over " the journey to eradicate sexual violence, in all its forms, continues unabated."

Dr Farrell, Principal Lecturer in Psychology, runs the University of Worcester's MSc EMDR Therapy Programme, the only such course in the world. Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) is one of two empirically validated therapies recommended for treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by the World Health Organisation (2013).

The Trauma Capacity Building Project, established by Dr Farrell, has delivered teaching, research and knowledge transfer, to health professionals in Iraq, who are then able to deliver much needed therapy to Yezidi survivors.

It builds on the University's commitment to ending violence and abuse, in all its many forms. The University's Centre for Violence Prevention provides vital research, education and advocacy in this field.

Professor Erica Bowen, from the Centre, also welcomed the Nobel Peace Prize news.

"Sexual violence within conflict and war is experienced by a notable proportion of civilians, and results in considerable additional physical health and emotional consequences for victims," she said. "In many instances these consequences last a lifetime, and impact directly on the ability to develop relationships with other people, and have or maintain a family life.

"However, attention is more often paid to the broader conflict, to the neglect of the victims of sexual violence within the context of conflict. It is therefore hugely significant that the Nobel Peace Prize has drawn attention to this issue by rewarding Nadia Murad in particular for her efforts to raise awareness to the suffering experienced by victims of sexual violence in conflict, drawing on her own harrowing experience."