Friday, June 26, 2020

Policy Brief: Historical Institutional Abuse and Transitional Justice

Professor Patricia Lundy and I have now published a Policy Brief based on work on historical institutional abuse and transitional justice.

This policy briefing draws upon the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry to explicate the nexus of historical institutional abuse inquiries with transitional justice approaches. Through detailed analysis of empirical research with those who gave testimony to the Inquiry, the briefing explores to what extent the Inquiry was victim-centric, participatory and responsive. Drawing on lessons from transitional justice, the brief outlines five recommendations that could strengthen the victim-centred nature of approaches to dealing with the legacy of historical child abuse. The brief concludes that addressing victims' needs should be the linchpin for both transitional justice and historical institutional abuse approaches.

To download the Policy Brief, click here.

To download the longer Research Article, click here.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Seminar: Trauma-Informed Approach

The second seminar in the Dealing with the Past series was hosted online on 18 May 2020, with some 250 people joining online. I chaired this important online event.

The seminar was entitled "The need for a trauma-informed approach to address the conflict's legacy" and was delivered by Professor Siobhan O'Neill on 18 May 2020. In this seminar Professor O'Neill presents the evidence on the transgenerational impact of trauma, and highlights the importance of a "trauma-informed" approach to addressing the conflict's legacy to protect the population from further harm.

The seminar is part of the Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) and INCORE, in partnership with Healing Through Remembering and the John Hume and Thomas P. O'Neill Chair in Peace, online seminar series. The seminar was chaired by Professor Brandon Hamber.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Lessons from Transitional Justice for Historical Institutional Abuse

A new article on "Lessons from Transitional Justice? Toward a New Framing of a Victim-Centered Approach in the Case of Historical Institutional Abuse" has been published by myself and Professor Patricia Lundy. The article was published in the journal Victims and Offenders in April 2020.

The article critically examines transitional justice mechanisms to determine if historical abuse inquiries can learn from this field of practice. The article explores the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry which reported its findings in January 2017 as a vehicle for addressing what lessons might be learned or shared between the fields of transitional justice and investigations into historical abuse. Through a detailed analysis of empirical research with those that gave testimony to the Inquiry, including fourthly-three victims and Inquiry transcripts, the article explores to what extent the Inquiry was victim-centered, enabled victim participation (beyond giving testimony) and addressed victim needs. The article shows that many of the flaws of transitional justice mechanisms have been replicated when dealing with historical child abuse.

Drawing on lessons from transitional justice – both positive and negative – the article outlines five broad areas for consideration that could strengthen the victim-centered nature of approaches to dealing with the legacy of historical child abuse. The article concludes that addressing victims' needs should be at the center and drive approaches and processes for both transitional justice and historical institutional abuse.

To request the article contact me.

If you have journal access the article can be downloaded here.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Breaking Binary History Online Seminar

The first of the "Dealing with the Past in Northern Ireland" seminar series is now available online. The seminar was entitled "Breaking Binary History: Can the Stormont House Agreement facilitate a broader and more representative understanding of the past?"" by Dr Adrian Grant on 7 May 2020.

The seminar is part of the Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) and INCORE, in partnership with Healing Through Remembering and the John Hume and Thomas P. O'Neill Chair in Peace, online seminar series.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Dealing with the Past Seminar Series

Despite the challenging current context debates about how to address Northern Ireland's past continue. I am delighted to be organising in my capacity as John Hume and Thomas P. O'Neill Chair in Peace - with the Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) and INCORE and in partnership with Healing Through Remembering - and important seminar series on this issue.  This online seminar series will explore the Stormont House Agreement and dealing with the past in Northern Ireland and run for the remainder of the year.

Find out more and review the schedule of seminars.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Psychosocial Issues and Peacebuilding Paper

Community Meeting, Colombia (Credit: Brandon Hamber)
Today I presented a short paper entitled "Mind the past to build the future: Systematic attention for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) inpeacebuilding efforts". The presentation was part of a member state consultation hosted by Stabilisation and Humanitarian Aid Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dutch Government. The initiative is run by the Dutch Government to find opportunities to enable international bodies, tasked with building sustainable peace, to integrate psychosocial aspects in all stages of their work.

In the member state consultation I was asked to give a brief insight into the psychosocial dynamics that need to be analysed and addressed when working on the peace-conflict continuum, and the value-added of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in peacebuilding efforts. Also, to focus on the importance of ongoing efforts to integrate MHPSS in peacebuilding. I based my remarks here on a chapter written for a large-scale research project into psychosocial issues and peacebuilding carried out by myself and colleagues.

You can download my paper here.