Division 48 Executive Committee Responds to Hoffman Report

This is the text of the Division 48 response to the Hoffman Report. It was approved at the Executive Committee meeting January 16, 2016 in Washington, D. C. [PDF of Response] Your comments are welcomed. Leave your comment in the Comment box below the post.

Division 48 Executive Committee Response to the Independent Review

January 16, 2016

The Executive Committee of Division 48 has substantially discussed the Hoffman report, the events that were officially revealed through it, and the role of peace psychology in these issues. Upon reflection, we find some of our actions and inactions regrettable, and we sincerely apologize for having been ineffectual as a division.

While recognizing the complexities of the issues involved in these circumstances, we are committed to a vigilant and proactive stance in speaking truth to power and in effectively representing peace psychology.

In order to reduce the likelihood of this situation reoccurring in the future, the Executive Committee calls on APA to do five things and commits to monitor this process.

  1. Issue an apology for:

    • the ethical transgressions that provided the proponents of torture with the perception of professional legitimacy;

    • the harm to the reputation of the members of APA;

    • the damage done to lives and careers of advocates of ethical accountability on the part of APA, some of whom are our members.

  2. Require APA elected governance officials, committee heads, and senior staff to receive four hours of human rights ethics training - to be renewed every two years - before taking on their position. This training should be administered by an independent organization such as Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP) or AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights & Law Program and specify criteria for "action undertaken with due care and in good faith."

  3. Provide APA-funded training for APA members by independent human rights organizations at the convention on the ethical challenges related to psychologists working within organizations.

  4. Fulfill the specific commitments for change related to the Hoffman report letter to council regarding the means of reform. The Executive Committee calls on its Council Representatives to monitor this process.

  5. Adhere to APA bylaws and procedures.