Campaign Against Psychiatric Abuse

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The Campaign Against Psychiatric Abuse
FormationApril 1975
FounderViktor Fainberg
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
Viktor Fainberg
Henry Dicks
Psychiatry in Russia and the USSR

Campaign Against Psychiatric Abuse was a group that was founded by Soviet dissident Viktor Fainberg[1] in April 1975 and participated in the struggle against political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union from 1975 to 1988.[2]

The Campaign involved national and international medical bodies[3] to reveal the monstrous abuse of human rights through the misuse of psychiatry.[4]


The English branch was set up on 5 September 1975[5] as the British section of the Action Committee Against Abuses of Psychiatry for Political Purposes[6] and composed of psychiatrists, other doctors, and laymen[7] including David Markham, Max Gammon, William Shawcross, George Theiner, James Thackara, Tom Stoppard, Eric Avebury,[8] Helen Bamber,[9] and Vladimir Bukovsky.[10]

The chair of the organization was British psychiatrist Henry Dicks.[11] From the fall of 1976, its director was Viktor Fainberg.[12] Committees similar to the Campaign Against Psychiatric Abuse were later set up in France, Germany, and Switzerland.[13]


Campaigns of the British section of the group included a rally against psychiatric abuse in July 1976 in Trafalgar Square[7] and led to the release of Vladimir Borisov, Vladimir Bukovsky and Leonid Plyushch.[2] The group issued correspondence, bulletins, and other documents which are deposited in the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam.[2] The group was so effective that by the early 1980s Soviet psychiatry had pariah status.[14] Opposition in Britain including the Campaign Against Psychiatric Abuse led the Royal College of Psychiatrists to establish the Special Committee on the Political Abuse of Psychiatry in 1978.[15] The Campaign Against Psychiatric Abuse actually never said what its fallback position was, this must mean that the Campaign favoured confinement of the innocent in prisons instead of mental hospitals.[16]



Further reading[edit]

  • Hurst, Mark (2016). British human rights organizations and Soviet dissent, 1965–1985. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 978-1472527288.