Victimhood and Attitudes Towards Dealing With the Legacy of a Violent Past: Northern Ireland as a Case Study

John D Brewer, Bernadette C Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Truth recovery mechanisms have become a cornerstone of peacebuilding efforts in societies emerging from conflict. Yet, to date, the view of victims in post-conflict societies concerning such arrangements remains highly anecdotal and often second-hand in nature. Mindful of this omission and using Northern Ireland as a case study, this article investigates the views of victims towards a range of mechanisms to deal with the legacy of Northern Ireland's violent past. Based on the 2011 Northern Ireland Social and Political Attitudes Survey, the results suggest some marked divisions in relation to this issue, with victims within the Catholic community being significantly more supportive of such initiatives than either Protestants or those with no religion. Moreover, while perceptions of victimhood emerge as the key predictor of attitudes among Protestants and the non-affiliated, general opinions on how to deal with the past are the key determinant of views among members of the Catholic community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-530
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Issue number3
Early online date20 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014



  • victims
  • truth recovery processes
  • Northern Ireland
  • post-conflict societies
  • peacebuilding

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