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'We Will Remember Them': Report of the Northern Ireland Victims Commissioner, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, April 1998

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Page Compiled: Fionnuala McKenna

Recognition by Way of Practical Help

Priority for the Views of Victims
5.1 I have emphasised in Chapter 3 the extent to which I made it a priority to invite and to consider with great care and sympathy the views of those who have experienced at first hand the direct or indirect consequences of violence attributable to the Northern Ireland situation; that is to say those affected to a material degree by the death or serious injury of others, together with those who continue to suffer themselves, physically, mentally, emotionally or economically as the result of violence from which they have sustained injuries.

Emphasis on Practical Needs
5.2Many of these argued that the only form of recognition of any value to them would be recognition of their continuing practical needs; most consider this form of recognition a higher priority and a more urgent necessity than the designation of some kind of memorial project or scheme.

Sources of Practical Help
5.3 As a modern social democracy, the United Kingdom understandably takes pride in maintaining a comprehensive and multi-faceted network of support for those in greatest need. The problem of injury or death arising out of the political or other criminal violence has been specifically addressed by statutory provision for compensation, administered currently by the Compensation Agency. I was informed by the Agency that at 31 March 1998 it was estimated that £413 millions had been paid out under this code. There is an elaborate system of primary medical, hospital and social services intended to advise and to treat appropriately those who suffer. Many admirable voluntary and community agencies, often enjoying support from Government, European Union, IFI or other funding, dedicate themselves as a sole or significant objective to the relief of the sufferings of victims and/or their dependants. Political parties have every opportunity to be conscious of the extent of suffering. Churches, in the very nature of their calling, are a natural source of sympathy and support for the many adherents.

Views of Victims that more should be done
5.4 Is it the case, then, that every need has been or can be met; that victims feel the State and society rate their concerns as a very high priority and offer as much advice and support as can reasonably be expected from them? With regret, I have to conclude that this question has to be answered in the negative. Too many people are carrying into the future, alongside their physical or emotional injuries or loss, a corroding sense of grievance. Too many victims who came to public meetings to meet me expressed the view that in 1 5 or 20 or 25 years they had enjoyed no adequate opportunity to voice their feelings to any one representing, or close to, authority.

Criminal Injuries Compensation
5.5I heard many criticisms of the compensation process. Not surprisingly, many lay people do not understand the significant respects in which compensatory arrangements in Northern Ireland differ from those in Great Britain.
5.6 In brief, compensation from the State for the victims of crime in Great Britain is now made by virtue of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 1995 under a "tariff" scheme, under which a special "tariff" is laid down for each kind of personal injury and for death. In Northern Ireland, on the other hand, State compensation has continued to be governed by common law principles which seek to compensate the particular loss suffered by each individual victim and which are subject to interpretation and application by the courts accustomed to assessing the damages payable to ordinary accident victims in the context of the common law. The considered view of academic and other observers is that the Northern Ireland scheme, taken as a whole, is generous; not least because awards are not, as they are now in Great Britain, subject to a "cap" of £500,000. Of the total sum paid in compensation to all victims of criminal injuries (set out in para 5.3 above), it is very broadly estimated that £186 million has been paid to victims of terrorist violence; within this f26 million on awards upon the death of a victim, and a further £160 million on awards for injuries to a victim. In assessing these figures, account must be taken of the fact that many of these awards were made a considerable time ago.
5.7 It is important to note some circumstances in which payment of compensation can be withheld or reduced. Payments to compensate for pain and suffering and loss of amenities as a consequence of what may be described as 'nervous shock' can only be made where the nervous injury results in a serious and disabling mental disorder, when a victim sustained that injury by virtue of being present when the crime was committed, and when the injury merits a compensation award of at least £2,500. It can be readily understood that the State will wish to protect itself against false claims and to avoid a flood of applications relating to trivial and probably temporary conditions. A claimant who has experienced the death of her husband in her arms may nevertheless find it hard to understand that her subsequent trauma and disablement, whether evident at once or manifesting itself later, cannot be compensated because she was some little distance away at the time of the attack upon him.
5.8 The Northern Ireland code also requires the compensation authority to take into account in specific respects the conduct or character of the victim or claimant. It can be appreciated that the taxpayer would be loathe to see compensatory payments made to persons, or in respect of persons, whose own conduct had contributed very substantially to their exposure to death or injury. But the application of this principle can throw up some difficult issues. Should the compensation payment to an individual who has suffered from a "punishment beating" be limited or refused altogether because his own anti-social behaviour has been notorious? Limitation of awards in such cases might lend weight to a pernicious conclusion that it was "really his own fault". The law also provides that no compensation shall be paid in respect of the death of or injury to any person who has at any time been a member of an 'unlawful association' or engaged in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism'. There is a fall-back provision in that the Secretary of State may authorise such a payment "if (s)he considers it to be in the public interest to do so"; I understand that this discretion has been rarely exercised. Again, the reason for exclusion can be well understood. Yet we live in a society where, unhappily, very young men and women have sometimes been introduced into terrorism through peer pressure, yet in later life, after a considerable period of non-involvement, may marry and bring up a family. Are that wife and those children, who may well have been wholly innocent of any fault, to be exposed to long-term economic hardship as a consequence of such a person's later criminal injury or death?
5.9 I should add here that many of those victims to whom I spoke found the procedures complex, baffling, frustrating and on occasion humiliating. Some were very well satisfied by the quality of the legal advice they had received; others thought they could have been better advised. A critical moment comes when an applicant has to decide whether to accept an offer made to him/her. Some felt that they had faced an invidious choice between acceptance of an unsatisfactory award and the consequences of further delay, perhaps leading to a court appearance and the prospect of adversarial cross-examination. A number of victims felt they had endured an unreasonable struggle to secure advances of compensation, in circumstances where their tragically changed condition called for early expenditure, for example to adapt a family home in order to cope with physical handicap.
5.10The subject of compensation is a complex and wide-ranging one. I am, however, persuaded that certain aspects of the law and procedure merit further serious review. In the course of my own earlier career, I have often had to come to the melancholy conclusion that schemes apparently well-matched to their purpose do not always deliver the goods. Overall the Northern Ireland Criminal Injuries scheme is judged to be generous whether in the British or the wider European context. Yet a scheme can be generous overall without being accepted as equitable by all those affected. Recipients of relatively modest awards inevitably draw unfavourable comparisons not only with awards in different categories - such as compensation for "tripping accidents" or awards for damage to reputation in libel cases - but also with awards to others under the Criminal Injuries scheme itself. Given that the underlying yardstick is the loss of "maintenance" to a family, the death of Mr A., a successful individual in the prime of life with realistic expectations of continuing high earnings, will be recognised by compensatory payments well in excess of those made available in the case of Mr B., an ailing older man with a long history of unemployment and poor job prospects. As a consequence, Widow B's perception is that her husband's life has been deemed by the State to be "worth less" than that of Husband A. The distinction is, of course, between compensation for what has been lost in the material sense and any attempt to achieve an essentially social objective. I received from Dr Un Yanay of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem some interesting material about the progressive development in Israel of schemes of "assistance to civilian casualties of hostile actions". As these schemes have been updated and essentially made more generous, earlier cases have been re-visited. I read with interest an observation made by a member of the Knesset in tabling the Victims of Hostile Actions (Pensions) Law of 1970 to the effect that the objective should be to reflect "both ethical and social justice: It [the updated scheme] prevents discrimination of the indigent and bases the benefit on equal rights for every casualty, regardless of income at the time of injury". This illustrates, I think, the reality that there are different ways of approaching the development of a policy for payment of compensation. No scheme will ever be universally acceptable; wherever a line is drawn, some applicants will find themselves on the wrong side of it.
5.11In December 1987 Professor Desmond Greer of Queen's University Belfast wrote a paper on "Compensation and Support for Victims of Crime" which was published in the Fourteenth Report of the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights. This paper included the recommendation that:
"Consideration should he given to the overall effectiveness of the various provisions to ensure that the payment of compensation to the victims of crime - and particularly the victims of terrorist crime - was adequate."
In spite of this, no comprehensive review of this kind has been carried out. In England and Wales the Law Commission is currently engaged in a comprehensive review of the principles underlying the assessment of damages for accident victims and their operation in practice. I believe that the time has come to establish an objective, independent, and wide-ranging review of the "Fitness for Purpose" of the compensation system as it is operated in Northern Ireland. It should take evidence not only from those concerned in, or knowledgeable about, the operation of the current Northern Ireland scheme, but also from those familiar with compensation arrangements elsewhere.

Other Economic Support
5.12 Of course direct or indirect victims of violence do not look to the statutory compensation arrangements alone for the economic support necessary to sustain them in their tragically altered circumstances. At this point it may be helpful to suggest the several levels of responsibility which it is reasonable to expect the State and society to acknowledge. A caring State will wish to assure itself that so far as is practicable within available resources, the victims of criminal violence do not suffer excessive economic disadvantage on top of the physical, mental, psychological or emotional burdens they have to bear. This does not mean that the State can ensure that no material loss whatever will be suffered. Nor does it mean that the State alone could or should accept the sole responsibility for the necessary support. Most victims enjoy the material as well as the psychological support of close family members.

Role of the Concerned Employer
5.13 Next, I believe that in a situation such as ours all employers should do what they can to be good and caring employers, ready to make allowances for those who face special difficulties. This obligation should he accepted in particular by State employers, not least in a jurisdiction such as Northern Ireland where such a high proportion of those in employment work in the public sector. At a time when the universe of "equal opportunity" encompasses the fair treatment of the disabled, it needs to be borne in mind that the victims of violence and those close to them have special needs and circumstances. It was a matter of concern to me that a dedicated school teacher who wanted to continue work while adequately caring for a seriously disabled young husband felt that her head teacher had made virtually no allowance for her special circumstances.

Need for Special Consideration of those who Serve the Community
5.14 In addition, special concern is appropriate for those who, in carrying out their public duties, were exposed to risks and dangers beyond the average. This includes not only the disciplined services who have been in the front line of protecting the community regular servicemen, locally-recruited soldiers, regular and reserve policemen, members of the Prison Service and others - but also people such as firemen or ambulance personnel or public transport operatives, the nature of whose duties has often exposed them to dangerous locations and situations.

Distinctions between Categories of Victim
5.15 My impression, from the evidence I received and from numerous discussions with those affected, is that the most vulnerable of all are those numerous victims who were not associated with any faction, cause or organisation; the many "little people" caught up in violence, often in relatively isolated incidents too soon forgotten outside the immediate family. Not surprisingly, those organisations whose members have been exposed to continuing risk of death or injury have learned a good deal from their experience, and nowadays look after their members and ex-members relatively well. It was clear to me from many conversations with victims from 20 or more years ago that this was not always the case. The RIR (concerned now with former members of the UDR) has today an effective and energetic network of Welfare Officers, and the generosity of donors over the years has built up a very substantial Benevolent Fund which is used to good effect. Regimental associations of the regular army are often in a position to lend material aid to ex-soldiers and their families, although some regiments are better placed than others in this respect. The RUC take good care of serving officers. As against this prospect of better support one has to set the sad fact that many victims from a security background, feeling themselves to be at continuing risk, remain circumspect in their choice of friends and associates and even in their use of external support services when they cannot feel sure of the motivation of all those with whom they may come into contact.

Need for a Sympathetic and Understanding Approach by Public Agencies
5.16 It is hardly surprising that, amongst the wider circle of victims, one frequently encounters disappointment that access to one means of economic support can often mean reduction of another. It has to be understood here that the State will not wish to pay twice for alleviation of the same condition. Moreover some of the concerns expressed on this front are shared by other critics of the way in which social security, pensions and tax provision sometimes bear upon the most needy. This is a huge subject, and I do not think that in practice the question of the support of victims of violence in Northern Ireland can be separated from the wider debate. Whatever the system may be, it is important that the dealings of bureaucracy with these victims should be conducted with sympathy and understanding. Some of those who spoke to me, for example, expressed concern about being exposed to excessive medical re-examination for conditions already confirmed as permanent by reputable consultants. Certainly the procedures for addressing these sad cases, while respecting the obvious requirements of public accountability, should be made as user friendly' as possible. I recommend that all the public authorities dealing in any way with the concerns of such victims should be asked to re-examine their procedures and practices, against the yardstick that the most senior officials should satisfy themselves that the approach would be acceptable if it had to be applied to members of their own family.

A Public Expenditure Priority: Need for a 'Champion'
5.17 There is a wider point of public policy to be made here. In recent years "Targeting Social Need" has been a headline priority for public expenditure in Northern Ireland. On foot of this (and indeed to some extent preceding it) there has been comprehensive public action to address the special problems of areas of multiple deprivation. While it is true that a relatively high proportion of victims of the past 30 years live in just such areas, there are a considerable number who do not, and in many cases their material and other circumstances are just as bad. I believe that the victims, as an aggregation of individuals, need to be more specifically targeted by public policy. It is relevant here that all victims are recognised in precisely this way in the EU Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation. I recommend that particular regard to the circumstances of victims should be made a specific sub-set of the TSN objective, to be acknowledged in the wider setting of the comprehensive spending review recently undertaken. In order for this to be done, this cause merits the designation of an immediate 'champion' within the Government machine and I recommend that this responsibility should be discharged by a designated senior officer in one of the central departments.

Advice and Counselling
5.18 A very significant issue is the degree of advice and counselling available to victims, both in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic episode and over what may be a prolonged period during which the adverse effects continue to be experienced. I refer here to a very wide spectrum of activity from the availability of the most practical forms of advice and guidance to the provision of highly-professional clinical treatment for post traumatic stress and other disorders.

Need for Support in Immediate Aftermath
5.19Let us consider, then, the immediate aftermath of a violent incident leading to death or injury. Those concerned - not only the central victim but a considerable number of those close to him or her - will be shocked and traumatised. In addition to death or injury there may well be other serious and immediate problems, such as the loss or damage of a family home, or even security advice that it would be prudent to leave the area. In the case of physical damage to property the Northern Ireland Housing Executive has acquired a considerable reputation for swift practical advice and emergency aid. Those fortunate enough to be part of a caring family will rely heavily upon the support of family members or friends not directly affected. Not everyone will be so fortunate, for some victims will be physically and personally isolated. The most likely first-line of contact in the immediate aftermath may well be the local police, who are likely to advise a victim to consider urgent access to a solicitor to prepare a claim for Criminal Injuries Compensation. Other contacts may well be with a General Medical Practitioner or a minister of religion.
5.20In this instance the writer of this report can bring a degree of personal experience to bear, having suffered the impact of a terrorist attack upon his home in 1988, fortunately without injury to any member of the family. The situation presented almost immediately the urgent need to tackle a wide range of practical problems while adjusting to the shock and trauma of the situation. If this is the perception of a person long exposed to practical problems and bureaucratic processes, and fortunate enough to have escaped death or injury, it can be well imagined how daunting is the prospect for a person who has never faced similar problems and is trying to cope with suffering and grief.

Need for Longer-term Support
5.21 For many, facing up to the immediate aftermath will be no more than the difficult first step along a life-long journey. The long-term effects of exposure to violence will not always be evident at the outset. Some of those who make an apparently complete recovery from physical injury may find deep emotional and psychological problems surfacing at a later stage. Not a few of my contacts told me painful stories of their recourse to drink or drugs in an effort to submerge deeply rooted feelings. Children showing little immediate ill-effect could prove later to be subject to serious behavioural or educational problems.

Excellent Work in Progress
5.22 How well do the State and society cope with these problems? In some cases, advice or support will be available, accessible and widely known; in others available but only discovered by victims after much pain and effort; in yet others not available at all or available to a very limited extent constrained by resources. There is in place a very extensive but currently uncoordinated network of agencies offering practical advice and support. This includes a wide range of public authorities and many organisations in the voluntary sector, some of which, such as Victim Support or WAVE, focus directly upon the problems of victims while others encounter these in dealing with a wider range of issues. I was particularly grateful to NICVA for setting up a most useful meeting at which I encountered representatives of a number of such organisations. I also learned a very great deal from Mrs Marion Gibson of the South and East Belfast HSS Trust who has made such issues a special concern.

'Living with the Trauma of the Troubles'
5.23 At the time of taking up my appointment, I was pleased to learn that the Social Services Inspectorate of DHSS had been leading a project to examine and promote the further development of services to meet the social and psychological needs of individuals affected by civil unrest in Northern Ireland. This project was facilitated by an experienced Reference Group drawing upon the services of relevant officers from the public sector, academic and medical opinion and organisations familiar with the problems of victims. The subsequent report, "Living with the Trauma of the Troubles", published in April 1998, gives an impressive summary of key issues and makes a substantial number of constructive recommendations and proposals. For convenience I attach as Appendix 2 the recommendations of this report. The conclusions reached by the project review team sit very comfortably with my own findings from contact with those affected. I would echo in particular the recognition that 'there is now a discrete group of people who have been affected by civil unrest and who have common as well as differing needs arising from their individual experiences'. I recommend that the most serious and urgent consideration should be given to the recommendations of the review team whether directed to Government, to specific statutory agencies, to the legal and medical professions, or to others. I commend in particular the emphasis placed upon proper training and supervision of those who offer counselling, the arguments for a register/directory of available services and the availability to legal representatives of information on supportive services for use of those who seek compensation.

Advice available but not force-fed
5.24 I would emphasise that no "counselling" in the widest sense should be forced upon anyone. One does not want to reinforce a culture of dependency. Some of those who suffer prefer to cope with problems in their own way and at their own pace; to shed as rapidly as possible the status of "victim". The aim should be to provide adequate information and support when it is needed and sought for. It should be made as simple as possible for victims to find out where they should turn for help, within their own locality, in dealing with specific types of problems. The victims, in my view, need signposts, champions and protectors.
5.25All of those likely to be in early contact with victims in the immediate aftermath of an incident -and this certainly includes police, medical practitioners and clergy - should ideally be provided with a simply-written summary of "Points to think about and places to look for help". This would need to be localised. A victim in Strabane should not have to seek assistance from Belfast. He should be able to receive an answer to the question "Where can I get the most accessible help?"

Need for a Powerful Voice for Victim interests
5.26 When we come to the need for champions, it is not so much a case of having no voices to speak for victims, but rather a cacophony of relatively uncoordinated voices. Many people made the point to me that there seems to be a stronger and more effective lobby operating in the interests of prisoners or ex-prisoners than there is in the interests of victims. I would not contest for a moment the desirability of ensuring that former prisoners are assisted to achieve a re-integration into normal society and in particular to resume gainful employment. It would, however, be quite unacceptable to provide services for the benefit of those convicted of serious offences which are not matched in dealing with the victims of such crimes, including in particular people placed in the path of danger by service to their community.

A Standing Conference
5.27 If the effective champion I believe the victims need and deserve is to be available, three things need to be addressed. First, sympathetic consideration should be given to the provision of funding which would allow excellent organisations such as WAVE to provide more comprehensive services throughout the Province. This would involve funding further capital development, employment of additional staff and - in line with the recommendations of the SSI Group - appropriate training and accreditation. Northern Ireland today is characterised by an exceptionally extensive network of community and voluntary groups, some of which are directed to single and others to multiple purposes. In the areas most severely affected by violence, it is to be hoped that multi-purpose groups will accept services to victims as a special concern and take advantage of opportunities to acquire the skills and knowledge required for that purpose. Second, the question of longer-term funding needs to be urgently addressed. Too many organisations and projects of demonstrable utility currently depend heavily on funding mechanisms which will not be available forever, eg through EU programmes or IFI. Yet the affected population will in many cases face considerable problems into the indefinite future. The domestic administration needs its own Peace and Reconciliation budget and room must be made for this in determining overall financial priorities. In this context, it will be important to establish objective methods of evaluating need, so that resources are directed at the communities and groups that have suffered most, and not merely at those who are good at obtaining resources. Third, I believe the interests of victims would be better served by the creation of a collective voice, in the form of a Standing Conference of Organisations Supporting the Victims of Violence. This may not be easy to achieve, given the sensitivities of particular categories of victim, but I believe some such step is required to raise the profile of the entire issue.

A 'Listening Ear': Case for a Standing Commission or Ombudsman for Victims
5.28But if the victims need a more clear voice, they also need a sharper listening ear. In the short term this need could be addressed in part by the designation of a senior officer in a central department as recommended in paragraph 5.17 above. In the longer run there is a strong case for creating an influential body or office to oversee the delivery of appropriate services and to be a focus for complaints, recommendations and requests from the relevant interests. This could take the form either of a 'Standing Commission for the Protection of Victims' (possibly with members nominated by other governments as well as that of the United Kingdom), or the creation of an office of Protector or Ombudsman for Victims. Such a commission or officer could be charged with responsibility for keeping under review the adequacy of services and the availability of advice.

The Problem of Pain
5.29 Of course many victims face continuing problems of a clinical nature; pain, disability, mental disorder, psychological stress and so on. I have, for example, in the course of my work as Commissioner encountered a very substantial number of amputees, many of whom complain of the well-established syndrome of "phantom pain". In this area of my work, I encountered many indications that we have not yet matched adequate provision and resources to the widespread problem of pain relief. In the United States, where the tragic Vietnam conflict left many amputees and others facing continuing pain there followed a period of rapid development of research into and advanced treatment of pain. Here in Northern Ireland we take it for granted that special effort will be directed to medical conditions particularly prevalent in our society. The problem of physical pain is of large dimensions, with many tragic elements including the fate of so many young men left permanently maimed and often in continuing pain from the grotesquely-misnamed "punishment beatings" or "punishment shootings". No doubt some of these attacks were mounted in what the perpetrators presented as a response to 'anti-social behaviour'. Such brutal treatment of persons without trial and without mercy is unacceptable in any civilised society, and those who have suffered from it deserve help to re-build shattered lives. In addition, there are serious problems of continuing mental and emotional trauma, which often impact upon relatives, and in particular the children of victims.

Case for Higher Priority for Treatment of Pain and Trauma
5.30 I was advised by a reputable senior consultant who has himself treated over 400 cases of acute pain since 1968 that, in the face of injuries to more than 40,000 people overall we have no more than seven 'Pain Relief Centres', each with a very substantial workload and with some patients having to wait up to two years for treatment. He informed me that a recent survey of family doctors had shown that 90% considered the present level of Pain Service inadequate. A higher funding priority for the relief of pain could permit the recruitment of specialist dedicated Pain Service nurses, the replacement or supplementation of old-fashioned equipment and a wider use of developing but still costly innovative techniques. I recommend that DHSS, the Management Executive, Health and Personal Services Boards and Trusts should give a substantially heightened priority to the treatment of pain, and should co-operate with the local Universities in creating a new focus of research excellence in this area. I have also been impressed by the argument that better provision may need to be made for a special category of victims; those requiring skilled psychotherapeutic treatment of conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the aftermath of torture. Consideration should be given to the establishment of a dedicated professional Trauma Centre drawing on the best international practice. Of particular concern is the number of children and adolescents, including those suffering as a consequence of violence in our society, who have to be based in adult in-patient psychiatric facilities. I understand that there are today no more than six residential psychiatric beds for young people in Northern Ireland. There should be better training of mental health and general practitioners in the recognition, referral and treatment of conditions they are all too likely to encounter.

A Victim's Perspective
5.31 The fact that so many people suffer from continuing pain reinforces the need stated earlier for greatly improved advisory arrangements. Someone who suffered serious injury wrote to me to say:
"After the initial stages of recovery the main thing / needed was help and advice. Where do / live?; what adaptations do I require?; how do I get around?; who can provide answers to these and dozens of other questions? In fact, it was very difficult to find out where to go to get answers. Someone asked me recently who was in charge of my recuperation and, in all honesty I had to reply that I was."
The practical issues to be faced here include experimentation with and introduction of more satisfactory prostheses and of wheelchairs matched to the specific needs of disabled individuals.

'Truth and Justice'
5.32A further area for consideration in this Chapter is the emphasis laid by many victims on considerations of truth and justice. It will not surprise anyone familiar with the affairs of Northern Ireland to learn that such arguments came from widely differing interests. I received, for example, forceful and articulate representations from the group Relatives for Justice, representing relatives of persons killed in 'Bloody Sunday' in Derry, in the events in Gibraltar and in other controversial circumstances. They argued strongly that many of those they represented had been victims of "state terrorism"; in circumstances where the organs of the State up to the highest levels had been culpable, and where they believed clear evidence of that culpability was available and had been deliberately withheld. This group was frankly sceptical about my ability, as a retired servant of the State, to address such issues with the necessary objectivity. I am not sure that they accepted my assurance that, whatever my past position may have been, I was determined to approach my remit with complete independence. I had not been given any "steer" by Government about the conduct of this review, and would not have accepted it if it had been offered. Their views on this issue are, no doubt already well known to Government, but I promised to convey in this report their firm view that revelation of the full truth of controversial events was far more important for the victims they represented than any other consideration. This I now do. When I visited the Glencree Reconciliation Centre in County Wicklow, I met a substantial number of people who had suffered directly or indirectly from the bomb outrages in Dublin and Monaghan in 1974. Without exception they expressed great concern that no-one had ever been brought to trial for these crimes and that, as they saw it, so little effort had been made to establish or to admit the truth of what had occurred. Some of them gave voice to a passionate conviction that there had been collusion and cover-up. They asked me to register their firm view that all questions of memorialisation or compensation were secondary in their minds to the establishment of the full truth.
5.33Others I saw expressed dissatisfaction with the events leading to attacks upon them. Some had felt inadequately protected in the face of a known risk, and suspected that on occasions the need to keep a useful informer in place had inhibited the authorities from giving a specific warning that could have saved them. I have no basis upon which to judge such allegations.

Victims and Justice
5.34I encountered a wide range of opinion that too often the victim seemed to be "out of the loop" when it came to dealing with the crime from which he or she had suffered. They felt that it should be possible periodically to find out whether the police were making progress in bringing perpetrators to book. Many argued that victims should be alerted to the release, either on completion of term or otherwise, of persons imprisoned for attacks upon them; it would be disconcerting to find oneself unexpectedly face-to-face with someone found guilty of a murderous attack. Others pointed to frequent situations when the involvement of individuals in attacks upon them was common knowledge, but the lack of evidence and/or of witnesses willing to come forward left the malefactors at liberty in close proximity to their victims or to survivors. Many, again, expressed great concern about their treatment in court. They found the robust approach adopted by many barristers in the context of our adversarial system of trial to be deeply disturbing when added to their other burdens.

Code of Practice for Victims of Crime
5.35 Against this background I was pleased to learn of the development by the Northern Ireland Office of a Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. A Victims Steering Group which has assisted the NIO in its preparation will have expertise which will be invaluable to any wider forum established to afford a louder voice and a better hearing for victims. The emphasis in the new Code on the right to expect investigation and information, to have one's interests taken into account, to be afforded emotional and practical support, and to be treated with respect and sensitivity is altogether admirable. The Code is, of course, directed at victims of crime of every kind and not simply at victims of criminal violence, and it emphasises the key role of the charity Victim Support. The new Code goes a long way towards the provision of the kind of "route map" required by victims. I recommend that the NIO monitor carefully the observance of this Code of Practice, not least in terms of respect and sensitivity to be accorded to victims by all officers of the court.

A Truth and Reconciliation Commission?
5.36 I have already touched, in paragraph 5.32 above, upon considerations of truth and justice. A number of those who were in contact with me argued strongly for the establishment of a Northern Ireland equivalent of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The South African Parliament set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, with its three Committees on Human Rights Violations, on Amnesty and on Reparation and Rehabilitation in 1995 "to uncover the truth about the political conflicts of the past". The Commission, a terminable instrument, would deal with "gross human rights violations that took place between 1 March 1960 and 5 December 1993'. The objectives, as set out in a Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, aim to:
"give as complete a picture as possible of the gross violations of human rights which took place during the conflicts of the past;
restore to victims their human and civil dignity by letting them tell their stories and recommending how they can be assisted; and
consider granting amnesty to those 'perpetrators' who carried out the abuses for political reasons, and who give full details of their actions to the Commission".
I was fortunate enough to be able to meet some of those who have been involved in the work of the Commission or have had an opportunity to study its operation in South Africa.
5.37 South Africa is not the only country to have established some such mechanism after prolonged violence, trauma and division. Broadly similar mechanisms have been used from time to time in countries as diverse as Uganda, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, Chile, Chad, Germany, El Salvador, Rwanda and Ethiopia. It is also the case that some of the matters referred to the South African Commission have been close to the centre of recent political dialogue, while others have been raised in evidence given to me. It has to be appreciated that while some in our society are talking of amnesty and general gaol delivery, others are arguing that their sufferings can best be recognised by condign punishment visited upon the perpetrators. A clear approach to truth may demand the corollary of reconciliation. Unhappily, "truth" can be used as a weapon as well as a shield. If any such device were to have a place in the life of Northern Ireland, it could only be in the context of a wide-ranging political accord. If the political leaders of Northern Ireland at some stage wish to pursue this possibility, I have no doubt that senior figures from South Africa would be more than willing to speak from their experience.

The 'Disappeared' and 'Exiles'
5.38 I have explained in Chapter 2 why I have had to adopt a circumscribed "working definition" of the victims. There are, however, some particular categories whose special predicament has been brought to my notice. There is, first of all, the poignant category of the "disappeared". While this report has been commissioned by and made to Government, I would voice a fervent appeal, on behalf of those whose loved ones have disappeared without trace, that those who can offer information about their fate and where bodies may lie should now do so. I realise that many of those in possession of such information may fear the risk of inculpating themselves, but I am sure cast-iron arrangements could be made, if necessary through trusted intermediaries, to report such information anonymously and in confidence. Many of the relatives have faced up long ago to the probability that a loved one has been killed, but it is one of the most fundamental of human instincts to seek certain knowledge of the fate of a husband or wife, son or daughter, brother or sister. Common humanity cries out for this modest act of mercy. Another poignant problem is that of what one might call the "exiles"; those who, under pressure and threat of one kind or another, have felt a necessity to move out of Northern Ireland but would wish to return to their native place. It would be a strange aspect of any society attempting reconciliation if convicted prisoners were able to return home while unconvicted people felt it unsafe to do so. This is another instance of the need for interests outside Government as well as within it to acknowledge the contribution they can make to a better society.

The Displaced
5.39When I visited Enniskillen, I was faced with evidence of the special burdens borne by certain families in the zone adjacent to the border. Here, in all too many cases, attacks on family members have been so sustained or threats so serious that families have decided, or been advised, to abandon family home and farmland. Not a few of these people came under particular pressure by reason of service in the UDR or police. Often the ownership of a farm which has been in a family for generations will still rest with a displaced landowner, with the land let in a conacre and a steady run down of the assets of the farm business. Some of these victims were as a consequence unable to take advantage of various farm improvement grants when these were more readily available. Those affected regard themselves as local victims of "ethnic cleansing" and have made representations to Government for some form of special help. I would hope that those representations are given sympathetic consideration.

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Recognition by Way of Memorial Schemes

Existing memorial Schemes
6.1 I have earlier pointed out that the ends of honouring the memory of a victim or victims can be achieved by means other than construction or designation of some form of physical monument.
  • the sufferings of the casualties of the Remembrance Day bombing in Enniskillen are acknowledged in the Spirit of Enniskillen Bursaries, which enable parties of young people fror both communities to experience life and the conduct of community relations in other countries;
  • the life and death of the late Ian Gow MP is marked by a Trust which makes grants to various causes and individuals in Northern Ireland, including certain integrated schools;
  • the life and death of the late Christopher Ewart-Biggs, the murdered British Ambassador in Dublin, is commemorated by a Trust which generously assists various Irish causes directed at peace and reconciliation; and
  • the young victims in Warrington, Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball are to be remembered in efforts by the local trust to promote closer contacts between England and the two jurisdictions in Ireland.
6.2 It was not surprising to find that many of those I consulted were attracted by the idea of recognising victims solely or partly through some scheme of practical utility directed to the victims and their families or to the wider community.

An Archive
6.3 A number of those who approached me stressed the importance of allowing people to tell their stories and to create a record or archive of these times. An Crann/The Tree has made substantial progress on this front, and I received with great interest from experienced journalists information on the one hand about a plan to create a definitive objective account of every individual death, and on the other hand about the idea of creating a chronological archive - to be a resource rather than a memorial - supervised by a responsible Board of Trustees. I recommend that creation of an appropriate record and archive should form part of any wider memorial plans, when the time is right.

A Focus on Children and Young People
6.4 Some suggested the creation of specific funds to be directed to various medical purposes. Overall, though, there was a strong emphasis upon the need to address what one witness described as
"processes and initiatives focusing on youth and communities". People generally were anxious to look forward to a hopefully brighter future as well as backward to a painful and divisive past. It was pointed out that there were opportunities to assist and encourage children and young adults at every level of the education system, not excluding higher education when fear of debt may deter applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds.

A Memorial Appeal
6.5 It is in this area that the wider public could be invited to report to a widely-supported Memorial Appeal, although contributions should also be sought from Government. I would recommend that the focus of any such appeal should be upon compensating the children of victims for social and/or educational disadvantage suffered by reason of the death or serious injury of a parent through violence. Such a Trust might subsume the present purposes of the Spirit of Enniskillen Trust. Its benefits should be available to assist developing young people whose educational or other prospects have been affected by the violence, whether they live in Northern Ireland or elsewhere (so that, for example, children of killed or injured soldiers would be eligible for support). Indeed, such a Trust might well be given an international charter, so that people in the Republic and elsewhere could benefit.

Support for 'Mutual Understanding' activity in Great Britain
6.6 My visit to Warrington prompted concern about another issue. There are, within the Northern Ireland system, various sources of public funding for activities designed to promote a Northern Ireland contribution to the promotion of mutual understanding as between communities in Northern Ireland and as between those communities and people elsewhere in these islands. Communities such as Warrington, following their tragic experience, are seized of the need to break down barriers of misunderstanding and mistrust. They are confident of their ability to raise some funding from private sources, but make the point that the development of better understanding should be the concern, within the United Kingdom, of Great Britain as well as of Northern Ireland. I recommend that the Government consider the possibility of some appropriate support for such causes in Great Britain.

Civic Recognition
6.7 I received suggestions for according to Northern Ireland, in recognition of the sufferings and endurance of its people, some sort of civic recognition. Several separate individuals recalled the example of the award of the George Cross to the island of Malta, in recognition of its endurance during the Second World War.
The Role of Religion
6.8In their response to my invitation to submit views, many of the churches emphasised the importance of a spirit of reconciliation as the best form of recognition of victims. There were suggestions that electronic media should be used in a regular call for reflection and remembrance; that Radio Ulster should produce a regular "minute of prayer" based upon a reflection and appropriate biblical text.

A New Public holiday: 'Memorial and Reconciliation Day'
6.9 I was particularly attracted, however, by proposals for a new public holiday. Too often in our society holidays are an occasion of division, respected more by one tradition than another or by one tradition only. Associated with such events we often have the display of flags, emblems and symbols regarded as partisan. No-one could or should in a free society seek to prevent the expression in a controlled and inoffensive manner of essentially sectional views. Ours is, and will remain, a pluralist rather than a monolithic society. But it would be a step forward if, just for once, we could join periodically in a universal act of remembrance and reconciliation. This might be done by designating a particular Sunday in each year as Memorial and Reconciliation Day, to be recognised in religious services organised by all the main denominations. If held (say) on the Sunday immediately prior to the May Day holiday, the latter day might be made the occasion for events of a more communal or civic character. It might even be possible to think of a universal rather than a divisive emblem, such as a buttonhole based upon the flower of the gorse or whinbush, so characteristic of our countryside, so prickly and menacing in winter and so beautiful in spring. However the idea of a Memorial and Reconciliation Day could only be profitably pursued in a more stable atmosphere, and with the approval and commitment of the churches.

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Possible Schemes of Physical Memorial

7.1 In the foregoing Chapters, I have argued that the first priority in providing greater recognition for victims should be to assure them of better social, economic, medical and other practical support. I have explored also the possibility of developing memorial schemes of a non-physical kind, which might themselves also be directed to causes supportive of the victims. In this Chapter I consider possible forms of physical memorial which could be considered and brought into being at an appropriate time.

Scope of Appendix 1
7.2 Many helpful and constructive suggestions were made by those who were in contact with the Commission during its work. These suggestions are set out in full in Appendix 1 to the Report, so that the reader may judge whether other ideas than those I would favour have substantial merit.

A Memorial of Public Utility
7.3 There is, first of all, the possibility of developing as a memorial some project of wide public utility. There is ample international precedent for this, exemplified in the naming of airports to honour the memory of some notable figure. This need not be a new facility erected for the purpose, but could be an existing project given a new name, as when New York's international airport at Idlewild was re-named John F Kennedy. If such an initiative were to be considered here, an appropriate title might be "Northern Ireland Memorial" airport or other project. Some of those who would wish to acknowledge the suffering of victims in the Republic as well as in Northern Ireland would see attraction in naming a greatly upgraded road between the two capital cities as the "Belfast-Dublin Memorial Highway". Clearly any project singled out for such a purpose would need to be striking, accessible and widely used.

A Memorial National Park
7.4 Many of those who were in touch with me were attracted by the concept of a memorial characterised by peace and tranquillity. One way of achieving this might be by means of the public acquisition and future maintenance of some area of particular scenic beauty not currently enjoying such protection. This oasis of tranquillity could be maintained as a Northern Ireland Memorial Park.
A Forest or Garden
7.5 I was struck by the way in which so many were attracted by the symbolism of natural decay, regeneration and growth. The return of Spring with the renewal of growth and colour has echoes for many Christian people of the cycle of death and resurrection, of that promise of "everlasting life" which has been a stay and comfort for so many people in their darkest hour. So it is that suggested forms of memorial have included the dedication of a native forest or the planting of a new one, with the opportunity for those who mourn to plant a tree in honour of those they remember and mourn. Many, too, were much attracted by the idea of a beautiful garden either as a setting for a memorial or as the memorial itself.

Forms of Built memorial
7.6 I also received various suggestions that some form of physical monument should be constructed. Historically, remembrance by such means has taken many different forms: a statue or other piece of sculpture; an arch; an obelisk or plinth; a building dedicated to contemplation or specific religious use; a museum; an archive; a multi-media presentation of the events remembered and the lessons to be learned from them.

Nature of a Monument
7.7 In considering options in this category, it has been necessary to address some important prior questions. What should be the tone and message of such a monument? How could it take a form which would recognise the suffering of victims from very diverse backgrounds in a way which would seem both acceptable and fitting to them? Where should any single memorial be located?
7.8 On the question of tone and message, it must be recognised that what we are considering here is not comparable with a war memorial. Such a memorial sanctifies the suffering of those who have become victims in fighting for a particular nation, community or cause. In spite of the widespread unpopularity of the Vietnam War amongst many younger people in the United States, it proved to be acceptable to memorialise by name "our boys". If there are memorials to the Viet Cong (as no doubt there are), they are located in Vietnam.
7.9 The wish to create an imperishable memory for those one has loved, for former comrades and shared causes, is deeply rooted in human instinct and practice. The understandable concern of relatives, friends and colleagues is not merely that the life and death of a victim should be remembered, but that it should be reflected in a memorial which can be treated with due respect by those who encounter it. It is a deeply shaming aspect of our recent history that animosity has sometimes been carried beyond the grave, with tombstones or other monuments desecrated and dishonoured. So it is that people will honour their own dead in their own way: in a family plot; in a graveyard dedicated to a particular section of society; or within the perimeter or the building of a particular organisation where colleagues can safely and respectfully honour and remember their own.
7.10 In Northern Ireland we have to face the brutal fact that we have lived in a deeply divided society and that the victims include those who have been actively involved in the conflict, those who have been particularly vulnerable by reason of their service or employment, many wholly uninvolved people caught in the cross-fire or targeted through random and brutally irresponsible violence, and of course all the many people outside Northern Ireland caught up by the consequences of the local situation.
7.11In circumstances such as these, any memorial must avoid a note of triumphalism. For their selfless service and consequent suffering, many deserve to be amply honoured as well as remembered. One can be confident that their loved ones and colleagues will so honour them. In the current circumstances of Northern Ireland, any attempt to incorporate a catalogue of the names of victims in a central memorial would be certain to provide endless controversy and expose a subsequent memorial to a real danger of becoming a target for protest and demonstration; for the paint-thrower or the crude slogan. I was gratified that the unwisdom of such a course was so widely accepted by most of those I consulted during my inquiries. The rationale for an appropriate memorial is well encapsulated in the words "Remember and Change".

7.12 The question of location is not an easy one. A memorial should be in a place readily accessible to people from every part of Northern Ireland and from its ports or airports of entry. It should preferably be in an area of relatively undeveloped countryside rather than within an existing town or conurbation. There are, indeed, some arguments for a series of memorials, rather than a single central memorial, located in each of the historic counties or even in each of the local government districts. Inevitably, though, this would increase the capital and maintenance costs.

A Northern Ireland Memorial
7.13 Having weighed most carefully the numerous suggestions I have received, and taken into account the factors discussed above, I would suggest for further consideration a central Northern Ireland memorial with the following characteristics:
  • set in a peaceful location, amidst beautifully-landscaped gardens;
  • in the form of a building which would be a striking work of modern architecture, and embodying within itself appropriate works of art contributed by communities or countries outside Northern Ireland in memory of those of their own citizens who have suffered;
  • this building to be dedicated to purposes of rest and reflection, care and counselling, and an appropriate archive of the troubles;
  • expressing the sorrow of Northern Ireland and the sufferings endured by so many, with dedication to reconciliation; and
  • incorporating inscriptions drawing upon appropriate words written by poets of this painful time.
7.14I have already touched upon the symbolism of a garden. Northern Ireland can already boast some of the finest gardens in these islands; the climatic conditions are favourable to an effort to create a truly memorable memorial garden for the new millennium; and we have in rich measure the professional skills required to bring it about.
7.15Such a garden could, of course, stand alone; but I believe it would be supplemented and enhanced by having at its centre a striking and appropriate building. In reviewing the published works about memorials in this or other countries, I am struck by how often they have been highly traditional or even imitative in form:- modelled, for example, after some triumphal arch of the classical period. Often, too, the style and purpose will be ecclesiastical, and one must take account of, and duly respect, the practising Christianity of great numbers of Northern Ireland people. However, we need in this case to acknowledge the sufferings of people of very different backgrounds. My own preference would be for a striking contemporary structure, to be built from a design chosen by competition, an aspect which will be discussed in the following Chapter.
7.16I would hope that such a building could be associated in a very direct way with those who have suffered outside Northern Ireland and with their communities. This might be achieved by offering communities and countries outside Northern Ireland who wished to be associated in remembrance the opportunity to contribute some beautiful and symbolic artefact or work of art for incorporation and exhibition in the memorial building; perhaps a piece of stained glass or an appropriate piece of sculpture or a tapestry or wall-hanging or piece of furniture.

Use of a Northern Ireland Memorial Building
7.17It goes without saying that such a building should be beautiful. It should also be useful; not an empty mausoleum but a living place of tribute, recollection and reconciliation. It should be developed as a principal meeting-place for those who have suffered and those who seek to serve them. It should incorporate a place in which visitors could experience their recollection of loved ones in tranquillity; and here I reflect again on the place of reflection incorporated in the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem, with its extraordinary Chagall windows. It should also make provision for the safe custody of a comprehensive archive, which might draw upon the work of An Crann and others in ensuring that posterity could learn from the sad history of these times.
7.18 I would have it called simply "The Northern Ireland Memorial". It would not feature the names of individuals or of specific tragic events. Perhaps it would be best that the poets who have flourished during this most difficult of times should speak for all of us, in words which might be captured on stone like the words of Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln in Washington DC. Few have expressed a more powerful or hauntingly simple call to recollection than John Hewitt in "Neither an Elegy nor a Manifesto":
"Bear in mind these dead:
I can
find no plainer words."

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How to Proceed from Here

Summary of Recommendations
8.1 My recommendations so far may be summarised as follows:
(a) there should be a comprehensive review of the "fitness for purpose" of Criminal Injuries compensation in serving the needs of victims of violence (para 5.11);
(b) employers should be sensitive to the special circumstances of victims and their carers, and specific action should be taken by public sector employers to assure this (para 5.13);
(c) in dealing with victims within the social security and other systems officials should be sensitive and understanding in their approach (para 5.16);
(d) effective targeting of the special needs of victims should be a specific sub-set of the Targeting Social Need objective (para 5.17);
(e) a senior official should be designated to take immediate responsibility for a better co-ordinated approach to the problems of victims within Government (para 5.17);
(f) the recommendations of the SSI-led study on "Living with the Trauma of the Troubles" should be energetically implemented by those interests to which they are directed (para 5.23);
(g) victims should be given the best comprehensive advice, locally differentiated, on where to turn for support (para 5.25);
(h) victims must, as the barest minimum, be as well served as former prisoners in terms of their rehabilitation, future employment etc (para 5.26);
(i) in the interests of giving victims an effective 'champion', existing organisations meeting their needs require more and more secure funding, and there is a strong case for a powerful 'umbrella' organisation to give them a stronger voice in bidding for resources and urging changes in policy or practice (para 5.27);
(j) in the longer term, the interests of victims should be made the concern of a Standing Commission or a Protector or Ombudsman for Victims;
(k) a much higher priority should be given to treatment of and local research into chronic physical pain (para 5.30); the question of a Trauma Centre and the availability of residential psychiatric care for young people should also be addressed (para 5.30);
(l) the recent Code of Practice for Victims of Crime should be conscientiously observed and critically monitored (para 5.35);
(m) the possibility of benefiting from some form of Truth and Reconciliation Commission at some stage should not be overlooked (para 5.37);
(n) every effort should be made to persuade and enable those with information about the 'disappeared' to disclose it (para 5.38);
(o) Government should not overlook the special claims of communities uprooted from their homes and farms (para 5.39);
(p) consideration should be given to the creation of a fund to assist in particular children and young people affected by the death or injury of a parent (para 6.5);
(q) the Government should consider the possibility of supporting efforts towards peace and reconciliation originating in Great Britain and not just in Northern Ireland (para 6.6);
(r) consideration should be given, if and when the churches consider it appropriate, to the designation of a "Memorial and Reconciliation Day" (para 6.19);
(s) at the appropriate time, consideration should be given to a Northern Ireland Memorial in the form of a beautiful and useful building within a peaceful and harmonious garden (para 7.13);
(t) such a project should be called simply "the Northern Ireland Memorial" (para 7.18).

Publication of the Report
8.2 There has been intense interest in the work of this Commission, and I hope and recommend that this Report should be published in its entirety and widely distributed. In particular, I would urge that it be provided gratis to all those who have taken the trouble to assist the Commission in its deliberations.

Consultation on Recommendations
8.3 Thereafter, I recommend that a reasonable time (of up to three months) should be allowed for interested individuals to react to the Report and recommendations. As I have explained, I have tabled in Appendix 1 a list of all the suggestions made to me, in case wider opinion should favour some course I have not been disposed to recommend.

Association with wider Political Development
8.4 As I write, the course of action beyond this will depend critically upon the progress of wider political development. If the basis for an accord is subsequently endorsed by referenda, with the prospect of significant early transfer of functions to locally-elected political leaders, then action within the ambit of a prospective new administration might have to be deferred; although even in that event, certain of the key areas may continue to be a concern of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Subject to this, however, I would recommend the earliest possible identification of and action upon practical steps of the kind canvassed in Chapter 5 of the Report.

Timing and Appropriateness
8.5 On the other hand, the development of ideas for a memorial project or scheme must be subject to sensitive considerations of timing and appropriateness. While no-one can guarantee that there will be no further victims, it could seem grotesque to contemplate a memorial if, unhappily, full-scale violence were to resume. The question of memorialisation can only appropriately be addressed after the definitive entry into the new and more forward looking era in the life of Northern Ireland. It should be a matter for the representatives of the people of Northern Ireland after, but not before, they have found common ground. Even then, there are strong arguments that some seemly interval should elapse.
8.6 It may nevertheless be worth considering now, rather than later, how projects of the kind canvassed in this Report might, at the appropriate time, be advanced. I would see a need for several stages of consideration.

A Commission to Develop a Project
8.7The first such stage would be the determination by the political administration of the general nature of the project they wished to pursue. This might then appropriately be remitted to a high-level appointed Commission, with membership representing the victims of violence, architecture and the fine arts, landscape gardening and/or arboriculture, archive skill and experience and so on. They would be charged to prepare a more detailed design brief, and to make proposals seeking the necessary capital and running costs. I would emphasise the prime importance of ensuring that any Memorial can be afforded and properly cared for over the long term. The wonderful work of the War Graves Commission shows that this can be done.

Choice and Management of a Project
8.8 After a design brief is prepared, the project should be the subject of a prestigious international competition, and the Ad Hoc Commission should select appropriate persons of distinction in relevant fields to judge that competition. On approval of the project, the political administration would need to decide upon long-term responsibility for its management, which might be vested in a body of Trustees, with appropriate administrative support.

A Postscript
8.9 With his permission, I conclude with one of the poems written by Michael Longley in his series "Wreaths".
"He was preparing an Ulster fry for breakfast
When someone walked into the kitchen and shot him:
A bullet entered his mouth and pierced his skull,
The books he had read, the music he could play

He lay in his dressing gown and pylamas
While they dusted the dresser for fingerprints
And then shuffled backwards across the garden
With notebooks, cameras and measuring tapes.

They rolled him up like a red carpet and left
a bullet hole in the cutlery drawer:
Later his widow took a hammer and chisel
And removed the black keys from his piano."

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Appendix 1 :
Suggestions Submitted to The Commission

Ideas for a Physical Memorial

A Monument

  • A physical memorial, featuring a dove on a plinth, with no names but with the inscription:

    "In memory of all those who lost their lives through acts of violence caused by a divided society"; and a line from Roger Courtney's "Pollen of Peace" song:

    "Let us spread the pollen of peace throughout our land."

  • A centrally-sited memorial, to be the subject of national or international competition and individual memorial markers to be fixed at the sites where each and every person fell.

  • A memorial, with no names, which should remember all those killed and serve to remind us why they were killed with, perhaps, identical memorials in London and Belfast.

  • The erection of a golden cross on one of the mountains in Northern Ireland, to symbolise the resurrection that we all would like here.

  • A monument with the names of all the troubles' victims, whether RUC, UDR, UVF, UFF or IRA.

  • A small unobtrusive stone cairn on Slemish, St Patrick's hill.

  • A wall with a list of names carved on it of all those who have died in the Troubles regardless of place of origin. The names should be laid out in chronological order with no indication of cause, side, persuasion or affiliation. As at the Vietnam wall, books listing the names alphabetically could be made available, including personal details approved by the families.

  • An Irish clock tower with bell.

  • A monument to atonement, rather than to remembrance, which would enable us to acknowledge both the suffering and our collective and individual responsibilities.

  • A monument made from wood which would eventually fade as would, hopefully, the memories of the troubles. The memorial's theme should be the biblical image from Isaiah and Micah of the people who literally beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.

  • A cenotaph.

  • A monument with the name of every victim but stating simply their status, ie "child", "infant", "mother", "teacher".

  • A memorial with no names in a neutral location which would symbolise hope for the future with a suitable quotation or verse.

  • A memorial fountain or other appropriate non-inscribed memorial.

  • A permanent memorial to remember the innocent victims of violence, ie members of the British Army, RUC, RUCR, UDR, RIR and all innocent civilians surrounded by a garden of remembrance.

  • An anti-violence monument/sculpture based on recovered or surplus weaponry.

  • Erect 4 large crosses in each corner of Northern Ireland, which would look back to and symbolise our period of common Christianity.

  • In areas, like Claudy, which were completely devastated by bombs, one should erect a physical memorial as a formal expression of grief, which would encapsulate the area's sense of its own self-worth, help to focus on healing and help to break division.

  • A clock.

  • Unveil a stone to the innocents like that in Westminster Abbey.

  • A physical memorial, but to the victims of terrorists and to the security forces only.

  • A monument to the security forces at City Hall where the two World Wars are already commemorated (or in the grounds of Stormont).

  • A memorial along the lines of the Vietnam memorial in Washington DC, listing names in alphabetical order.

Planting Trees/Woodlands/Gardens or Parks

  • Plant trees as a living memorial.

  • A memorial forest.

  • A "National Garden" which could fulfil the criteria of beauty, peace and relaxation with access for everyone in Northern Ireland, and which could be used for environmental and educational purposes for all ages, and for prestigious events such as open-air musical events and receptions.

  • Establish a site where trees could be planted - one for each victim of the troubles and one for a shadow victim of trouble outside our land. Within the woodland, have a simple Mourne granite plinth with perhaps a sun-dial or compass or forget-me-not flower and the words "In memory carved thereon. Provide other areas for recreation and leisure and a working area where young people could learn or study conservation, habitat and nature. It should be funded by a public appeal both nationally and internationally, and the project should be linked to, (and part of the proceeds should go to) children's charities.

  • Plant a tree for each person killed in the violence and also beds of flowers representing the other countless victims.

  • Each county should have a park with a centre piece where families could enjoy their own moments of reflection in tranquillity.

  • A public place planted with native trees with a stone or bronze nameplate in sequence of time; and a walkway by a meandering stream flowing into a lake of tranquillity. Native shrubs should be planted to represent the wounded, and flowers for the season of hope surrounded by a great earth bank, a place for prayer and reflection.

  • A garden of contemplation.

  • An arboretum.

  • A Japanese garden reflecting all of life's stages.
  • A garden of remembrance with a simple eternal flame at its focus.

  • Plant an approximately 3500 tree native hardwood forest to form a forest of reflection. It would be planted by the families of those who have died as a result of the conflict, but the trees would not be individually dedicated. There would be a small seated area at the centre. It could possibly be located adjacent to the River Lagan, near, and visible from, where it intersects with the Ml Motorway.

  • A garden of remembrance.

  • A garden of rest, with a cairn of stones or an eternal flame.

  • A newly planted broadleaf woodland (or forest), containing species of trees native to Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland. It should have a section assigned for ceremonial plantings by visiting dignitaries from other nations who would, perhaps, plant species native to their land. It should have glades or viewpoints for contemplation and reflection and perhaps a relatively small formal garden.

  • A park, on the scale of Mount Stewart, somewhere very serene and spiritual, including sculptures, poetry and a bandstand, possibly in more than one location.

  • A national site in a significant place in the centre of the Province (on the scale of the Ulster/American Folk Park) which has spirituality and which tells the story of the troubles as an example of European Ethnic conflict and a story of how we have had a war within the context of normal democratic existence.

A Memorial Building

  • A place where the bereaved or injured could tell their stories.

  • A place of remembrance where parades, flags, and emblems would be prohibited and which would provide a neutral environment, incorporating an inter-denominational chapel and a resource centre that might contain:
    - a library of books, videos and films about the troubles;

    - documentary records, including those of the Government (as and when they are released);

    - oral histories both of prominent personalities and ordinary persons whose experiences and views merit recording for posterity - and encompassing both perpetrator and victim;

    - a facility for public lectures, seminars etc and also, serious research;

    - a state of the art IT system to facilitate computer access, particularly by persons from outside Northern Ireland.

  • A centre to which all those who believe they are victims could come for refreshment. This could be for a holiday, for respite or for counselling. It would be somewhere central in the Province and gracious with gardens and rooms for a variety of activities. It could contain:
    - a chapel;

    - a room dedicated to victims, including a wall of poetry chosen by them and their stories about what each finds most difficult;

    - a library.

  • A building where people of all denominations could go to remember their loved ones who have been killed in the troubles. Poems should be inscribed on the internal walls. The building should be erected on high ground such as Cave Hill or Black Mountain and be illuminated so that it can be seen from afar.

  • A hostel for young people in third level education.

  • A memorial Hall.

  • A memorial hospital or hospital wing.

  • Use a redundant Belfast Jail and Crumlin Road Courthouse to house a permanent exhibition of Ulster's history.

  • An adult education centre or a residential centre.

  • A house which could be a place of tranquillity where people could have solitude or come together as they wished.

  • Create a network of purpose-built spaces which could be used by the various organisations dealing with trauma and bereavement.

  • An advice centre to help people deal with practical and emotional issues after a violent bereavement.

  • A museum, like the holocaust museum, where we could work through our story and teach future generations what we have learned.

  • Use buildings, which have been facilities of the troubles, like the Crumlin Road Prison, to tell our story.

  • A library or a museum.

  • A museum or an art gallery.

  • Create a safe place in which people can come and tell their stories to someone who will listen.

  • Establish an Interpretative Centre aimed at children - something set up in terms of conflict which could be used as an educational tool (ideally, one would use the old Crumlin Road Prison). One could link such a centre in Northern Ireland to other areas of conflict.

  • A place of quietness, memory and tranquillity with an Interpretative Centre.

  • A Trauma Centre where all the groups like WAVE, An Crann/The Tree and KAIROS could come together to provide a central resource where people could work in partnership to promote healing.

  • A building in a quiet place where there could be representations of the pain, hurt and grief in various media.

  • A chronological archive listing the name and personal background of each of the 3,000 plus victims who lost their lives, not only in Northern Ireland, but in Britain, the Republic and the European mainland. In addition, it would be open to interested parties, families etc, to file personal testimonies about the victim. The archive could be contained in a museum, academic institution or a building created for the purpose, as well as being computerised and placed on the Internet. Survivors of violence would also have an opportunity to file contributions.

Other suggestions of a physical nature

  • A book of names in an appropriate place.

  • A 24-hour dispensing chemist should be built straddling the Peaceline between the Falls and Shankill roads with access from both sides.

  • A memorial tribute naming the innocent people who died in the Troubles.

  • Build multi-storey, and free, car parks at the Royal Victoria, City, Mater and Altnagelvin Hospitals; and extended car parks at the Ulster, Downpatrick and Erne Hospitals.

  • Park benches.

  • An eternal flame for the unnamed victims.

  • Playgrounds throughout Northern Ireland.

  • A bridge dedicated to peace and reconciliation.

  • A mural painted by young people in a cross-community project.

  • A compendium of stories should be compiled which could be published with the permission of the individuals or kept in archives. Other mechanisms for story-telling should be considered.

  • The Vision of Peace at the beginning of Isaiah, Chapter 11 should be offered as a subject for interpretation to a variety of creative artists.

  • A thanksgiving square possibly with an eternal flame of hope and possibly taken up by each District council.

  • A stained glass window in a prominent building.

  • Build on the work of An Crann/The Tree.

  • A peace path.

  • A peace square.

  • A book of remembrance for children.

  • Establish a "friendship" seat in each District Council area, overlooking a children's playground where people could be encouraged to meet and talk and build relationships.

Ideas for a Non-Physical type of Memorial

A Fund/Trust/Bursary

  • A Memorial Fund, subscribed to by the Irish and British Governments which would be allocated proportionally to local communities and groups which have been directly affected. Each group would then decide, within certain guidelines, how they wish to spend it.

  • A form of Trust, either for peace and reconciliation, such as the Spirit of Enniskillen, or to assist in medical care, such as the fund for the McMillan nurses.

  • A Memorial fund to help students and families pay their fees.

  • Set aside money for child victims, to be given to them when they reach the age of 18.

  • Invest money in a fund for sport for young people because not all young people express themselves academically.

  • A fund to financially benefit the widows and dependants of deceased security force members and injured former members.

  • A bursary scheme for the families of people who have served in the forces.

  • A fund to pay for work on conflict with children in schools.

  • A bursary-type project, named "The Victims Fund", to give young people training on a cross-community basis.

  • A straightforward one-off payment of £250,000 should be made to people who are bereaved as a result of the troubles, regardless of their economic circumstances.

A Scholarship

  • Scholarships for carefully-chosen youngsters to go to other places of apparently permanent conflict (eg South Africa) to see how an accommodation has been achieved.

  • Educational awards should be made at all levels of our education system. Investment should be made in education, geared towards disadvantaged communities and children - something both vocational and academic; perhaps a civic programme in the curriculum or an educational Charity or Trust.

  • An ongoing scholarship or prize scheme open to both traditions of young people.

  • Grant-aid students from all backgrounds and traditions to study courses on conflict and then employ them within Northern Ireland as "bridge-builders" to help destroy sectarianism.

  • A scheme to enable children to be better travelled/educated.

  • A fund to establish the means of encouraging a new generation to travel abroad and thereby widen personal horizons, or a fund to encourage education through scholarships abroad.

A Commemorative Medal

  • NI should be honoured with the George Cross, with the citation and medal being kept at Stormont or Belfast City Hall.

  • A commemorative medallion in the design of a dove should be presented to the individual as a tangible but personal recognition of their loss.

  • Award a Northern Ireland George Cross, along the lines of Malta's George Cross.

  • The ordinary long-suffering people of Northern Ireland should be awarded the George Cross and the occasion marked by a one-day holiday, and by a special commemorative gift to our children.

  • A medal should be awarded to all members of the Security Forces who have been injured as a result of terrorism.

A Day of Remembrance/Public Holiday

  • A day of remembrance.

  • A day of remembrance, other than a Sunday, incorporating a special service in all churches.

  • A separate Remembrance Day or specific time within the course of current Remembrance Day ceremonies.

  • A Northern Ireland Memorial Day supported by all churches.

  • A new public holiday.

Suggestions for Other types of non-physical memorial

  • Those found guilty of events which have led to the death of a victim should serve their full term without remission.

  • There should be proper sentencing for perpetrators.

  • Investigation of past crimes should continue.

  • Fund a well-documented piece of research to facilitate the dissemination of the expertise gathered in this Province as to how people are victimised and how victims can be supported.

  • A help-line for victims.

  • A police remembrance service.

  • A chair of peace at QUB or UU.

Ideas for Practical action to assist victims

Financial Help/Pensions for Victims

  • All those who have lost innocent family members as a result of the troubles should receive a 'war pension'.

  • War Pensioner status should be afforded to injured police officers.

  • Medical discharge pensions should be available to all members of the RUC and its Reserve Forces who are discharged from duty due to terrorist activity.

  • Servicemen who have been medically retired, or the families of murdered servicemen, should be given some money to help them set themselves up.

  • Assistance for surviving victims in the form of free electricity, fuel, local transport etc.

  • Financial assistance to help widows raise their children.

  • Set aside funds to help the families and dependants of innocent victims.

The improvement of practical arrangements/advice for victims
  • Encourage the long-term sustainability of voluntary organisations which provide counselling.

  • Give a cash injection to organisations which care for the needs of victims.

  • Provide support for carers of those with disabilities acquired as a result of the troubles.

  • Give victims a "fast-track" in re-training and job-placement whilst guaranteeing their benefits if they do not get jobs.

  • Rehabilitation, re-training, advice centres and the prospect of future employment must be made available to injured security force members in a secure setting.

  • Offer education, training or re-training to young victims.

  • Offer job rehabilitation and constructive help.

  • Compile a register of victims.

  • Give a lasting commitment to ongoing care, support, counselling and, where appropriate, compensation of those who will continue to be victims

  • Government should have a more systematic approach to ensuring that every person has the opportunity to have their needs assessed and addressed in a generous way.

  • There should be continuing and active support for people who have suffered physical and psychological injury, and practical and financial support for organisations which are working with victims.

  • Provide better support services for victims:
    -a map and audit of existing provision in the voluntary and statutory sectors;
    -a directory (with appropriate maintenance and dissemination mechanisms) would be useful for those engaged in supporting and providing services for victims.

  • Establish a scheme or venture, including carers, as a focal point for the traumatised.

  • The community should institute a formal process or set of activities that would address the needs, perspectives and interests of the victims of political violence, as part of the range of wider issues which need to be addressed to build peace. Three Forums or Commissions could be established to broaden the base of peace-building insofar as it relates to the needs and perspectives of the victims of violence.
    These are:
    i) a forum for people afflicted through violence;
    ii) a forum for declaration and acknowledgement (ie a forum for those who hold themselves accountable for violence);
    iii) a commission to address prisoner issues and matters relating to those who have not been held to account for acts of violence.

  • Set up a more formalised advice facility for victims where they can be directed for advice on matters such as:
    i) disability compensation;
    ii) disability benefits;
    iii) disability pension.

  • Take the distress out of applying for benefits by setting up a register of victims which could be cross-referenced with information held by the DHSS when victims have to claim benefits.

  • Look at the difficulties there are for the injured to obtain mortgages and life assurance due to reduced life expectancy.

  • Support bereaved children.

  • Set up a Victims of the Northern Ireland Conflict Forum to be consulted by governments and political parties about the timing and extent of any future release of politically motivated prisoners; to advise on funding and the future development of victim support services; to produce reports on any matters concerning victims and to give victims a voice generally.

  • The current range of support services should be audited to produce a "map" of the range and depth of services available.

  • Create a directory of services for future users - something useful and easily understood which would be well-maintained and disseminated.

  • Consider some practical application of Damian Gorman's work with An Crann/ The Tree.

  • Practical help should be given to children growing up in damaged communities, who often suffer the disadvantages of poor education and facilities.

  • There should be a shift in resources and policy to enable social services to take account of the fact that there have been 30 plus years of conflict.

  • Establish an umbrella organisation to look after the interests of victims.

  • Set up schemes to help re-train and rehabilitate people who have serious injuries.

  • Make better funding available to have peace and reconciliation projects available in GB as well as in NI - the East-West axis needs to be developed as well as the North-South axis.

  • There should be a continuing commission for the victims of violence - to act as a "Yellow Pages'" of relevant organisations.

  • Protestants living in border areas should be helped to reclaim the farms out of which they have been intimidated.

  • Provide a facility for advice/guidance to victims.

  • Establish a consortium with the common purpose of looking after the victims which enables the best of all agencies to be harnessed.

  • Establish an agency to help victims get through the minefield of social services.

The improvement of the Compensation system
  • In cases where victims have been poorly advised in respect of compensation by their solicitors, they should be able to seek redress at any time without being statute barred.

  • Structured payments for criminal injuries claims should be afforded to injured members of the security forces.

  • The State should provide compensation which is different from the present arrangements, and which compares with the cost to the state of dealing with and accommodating (in prison) those responsible for violence.

  • There should be a detailed and stringent examination of the issues of financial compensation, which is often unevenly awarded.

  • Give help to those whose original compensation was inadequate.

  • The compensation system should be looked at and, if necessary, retrospective awards made in cases where advice was poor.

  • The method of awarding compensation should be examined because it is completely inadequate - the whole process simply adds to the trauma of serious injury or bereavement.

  • Efforts should be made to make the compensation system less painful and more equitable.

  • Establish a register of solicitors who are experts in criminal injury compensation following terrorist incidents.

Improved Medical care of victims and carers
  • Establish a chronic pain clinic and conduct research into the treatment of pain.

  • Focus on the practical needs of victims in respect of pain relief and pain management.

  • Further research should be carried out into Post Traumatic Stress and related issues.

  • There need to be developments in relation to:
    - pain relief;
    - addressing the problems of physical injury, including mobility and dexterity problems and the issue of proper wheelchairs;
    - respite provision for people caring for very disabled victims;
    - intervention and support in relation to bereavement and traumatisation for children and adults;
    - facilitation and mediation of ongoing concerns and problems.

  • Introduce a process whereby victims get priority treatment in the NHS.

  • After a violent incident, ensure the provision of immediate psychological! counselling help.

  • Provide better facilities for the treatment of pain.

  • Give a donation to each of the main hospitals in the six counties, and the Royal Victoria Hospital, to enable them to purchase a piece of equipment they need to help them save life.

  • Build a hospice for terminally-ill children to help them to die surrounded by love.

  • Address the disadvantages of disablement, and expand on work being done with traumatised children.

  • Schools in interface areas should be given counselling back-up to help with children who have witnessed atrocities on their streets.

  • Better attention should be paid to the psychiatric needs of young people; support services for those who were traumatised; and the training needs of professionals such as doctors and the voluntary and statutory sectors.

  • Time and money should be devoted to the research of pain and the establishment of a pain clinic.

  • Provide funding for medical research for people who have lost limbs. There is an urgent need for serious research on prosthetics; there needs to be specialisation in one hospital to deal with the aftermath of terrorist incidents and post-incident recovery.

  • Better attention should be paid to counselling and the prevention of trauma-related illnesses in children following violent bereavement; the current chronic lack of resources in this area should be addressed.

  • More money should be spent on training teachers how to deal with the sensitivities, and in recognising the symptoms of violently bereaved children.

  • Funding should be ring-fenced for those victims who may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder years down the line.

  • Fund medical staff to specialise in dealing with physical and emotional pain.

  • Provide specialist training for GPs so that they can deal better with patients suffering from troubles-related trauma.

  • A pain clinic which would help people to heal and help others to understand the results of violence and terrorism.

Assistance with the search for Truth and Justice
  • Establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

  • Set up a Truth Commission.

  • The truth should be made known about incidents involving killings by the security forces.

  • The two Governments should examine the South Africa Truth Commission to see if a similar body could be useful in our situation.

  • Create a situation in Northern Ireland where everyone can have truth and justice.

  • Help families whose loved ones have been killed by the security forces to find truth and justice.

  • Help the healing process by establishing a Truth and Justice Commission.

Suggestions for Other types of practical help
  • Customs and Excise staff, both living and dead, especially on the land boundary should be given (financial) recognition for their efforts in providing this public service.

  • There should be integration at the earliest age pre-school.

  • Victims should be allowed to have a say/representative in the official "Peace Talks".

  • Where appropriate, it should be made publicly known that the victim is not to blame and that they do not belong to any political organisation.

  • Attention should be given to dealing with the perpetrators of punishment beatings/shootings.

  • Ban the use of plastic baton rounds.

Table of Contents

Appendix 2
"Living with the Trauma of The Troubles"

Summary of Recommendations

  • The community developments which are taking place, often in the most troubled areas and often led by people who have themselves been severely traumatised, should be supported and encouraged by Boards, Trusts and other funding bodies as part of an overall co-ordinated response to the needs of affected individuals.

  • The development of crisis support teams should be widened to ensure that this provision is available when needed throughout Northern Ireland. Support should be available to all traumatised individuals, regardless of the scale of the incident in which they were involved.

  • The location of services must be carefully considered to ensure that they are easily accessible to those who need them.

  • The manpower requirements of the psychology service should be examined to see how it can become more effectively involved in treating people at the time and point of need, and in reducing time spent on waiting lists.

  • There are widespread concerns about the counselling of persons affected by the conflict, such as training, accreditation, supervision, co-ordination, quality and effectiveness. The Department of Health and Social Services should convene a Northern Ireland working group to address these concerns. This group should include those representing established and recognised counselling organisations such as Cruse Bereavement Care, and other interested bodies such as the British Association of Counselling, the Irish Association for Counselling and Therapy, the British Association of Psychology, the British Association of Social Workers, the relevant occupational standards bodies and local academic institutions. The group should consider:
    - the need for counselling of persons affected by the conflict;
    - minimum standards acceptable for counselling of such persons;
    - a review of training and supervision arrangements;
    - future accreditation of counsellors and organisations offering a counselling service;
    - the application of national standards for qualifications (eg National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs));
    - establishment of a Northern Ireland accreditation panel in the absence of another suitable body;
    - provision of a report with recommendations on the way ahead.

  • Each community Trust should compile and maintain a register/directory of services recording all voluntary and community organisations and professional agencies which offer help, in its various forms, to individuals affected by civil unrest. This register! directory of services should be held by all voluntary organisations and professionals as a means of contributing to more effective co-ordination of the services available, improved liaison, referral of clients and communication of essential information. Compilation of a register/directory will require evaluation of the services provided by each organisation and services will need to be monitored to allow the register to be updated. This task would complement Trusts' responsibilities in connection with emergency community care planning, as outlined in the Departmental circular and planning manual.

  • Services offered by each organisation should be recorded in the register/directory. Services may range from simple sympathetic listening, befriending, practical help, mutual support and advice through to counselling. Organisations which offer or aspire to offer, a counselling service in addition to other services, should be accredited. An organisation's accreditation status should be shown in any future register/directory, as well as the range of other services they offer. It is important that all agencies are in receipt of this source of information to assist their own decisions in relation to referral of persons for further help and assistance.

  • In the longer term it is recommended that no organisation should practice counselling unless they have received accreditation by the Northern Ireland panel or other body designated for this purpose.

  • Each Trust should prepare suitable explanatory pamphlets on what services are available in its area with points of reference where help can be accessed. These should be made available to A and E departments, GP surgeries, health and social services premises, and other suitable outlets such as funeral directors, police stations, Northern Ireland Housing Executive offices, Social Security offices, Post Offices, public libraries, Citizens' Advice Bureaux, courts and solicitors' offices. Copies should also be available to all organisations offering help, to raise awareness of the full range of available assistance.

  • Further funding for crisis support teams should be considered to allow them to offer follow-up support to individuals for up to 2 years.

  • To improve co-ordination and liaison of services a small advisory panel should be established in each Health and Social Services Board's area, representative of the range of professionals and voluntary organisations working with those who have been affected by the conflict. The panel should include individuals who have encountered trauma and would be willing to advise the panel in the light of their own personal experience. The panel's tasks should include:
    -assisting the co-ordination of services in the Board's area;
    -enabling greater coherence and cohesion of the network which exists in the area;
    -improvement in the understanding of emerging needs and the shared development of methods for tackling them;
    -clarifying and promoting a better understanding of roles and role relationships on the continuum of provision.

  • Boards should examine the adequacy of the current provision of child and adolescent psychiatry and their ability to offer a timely response to affected individuals.

  • The DHSS should conduct a review of clinical psychology services, taking account of current demand and outstanding waiting lists. A priority should be to reduce the current backlog and shorten waiting lists. To improve understanding of the therapeutic options offered by psychology services, explanatory information should be prepared and included in local registers/directories of services.

  • Education and Library Boards should examine the adequacy of educational psychology services for pupils affected by the civil unrest.

  • Legal representatives should have access to information on services and should ensure that clients seeking compensation are informed of all support and treatment possibilities.

  • Services for security personnel should examine the needs of their ex-personnel and their families to ensure that appropriate services are readily available to these groups.

  • Social services need to address their perceived negative image and the lack of trust in them which exists in some communities. They need to explain their role and re-establish relationships with their local communities.

  • Staff working in the statutory sector need awareness training to help them recognise that the problems of some of the individuals that they are trying to help may be rooted in undisclosed 'Troubles'-related trauma.

  • Those currently engaged in providing services should explore the value of establishing a 24-hour confidential helpline. Discussion with Samaritans revealed that a striking proportion of their calls are from individuals who have been affected by the conflict. Samaritans suggested that their contribution in this area could be enhanced if their service was listed as one of the available sources of help in any publicity material targeted at affected individuals. They could provide a better information service and refer callers to appropriate helping agencies if they were in possession of any new registers/directories of service providers and other publicity material recommended in this project report. Given their current service, it would be appropriate to involve them in discussing this proposal.

  • The literature identifies a number of core features of good practice for working with persons affected by the conflict. These features, and the examples of good practice identified by the project, suggest a basic set of standards for work in this area; they should be widely disseminated to encourage other organisations to adopt similar standards and initiatives.

  • The pioneering training courses which have been positively evaluated should be expanded to raise awareness of the needs of traumatised individuals, to enhance the listening skills of individuals in the community and to provide training opportunities for organisations whose members are working with traumatised persons.

  • An encouraging range of diverse services is developing in many areas. They offer a unique opportunity to evaluate each service, to discover if the service is achieving what it set out to do and to discover what works best. If these evaluations are collated, compared and disseminated, a valuable compendium of evidence-based practice can be built up, allowing future new developments to learn from the best practice of others. Lessons learnt in Northern Ireland may also be applicable in other parts of the world. Evaluation should be built into every project and a database of findings should be established and made easily accessible to those with an interest in this field.

Table of Contents

CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within Ulster University.

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