Victimisation and Attitudes Towards Former Political Prisoners in Northern Ireland

John D Brewer, Bernadette C Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


The release of ex-combatants and the mechanisms for their re-integration within society has become an increasingly controversial issue in peace settlements. Yet to date, the view of victims concerning such arrangements in post-conflict societies remains unexplored. Mindful of this omission and using Northern Ireland as a case study, this article investigates the relationship between victimisation and attitudes towards the treatment of former political prisoners. Based on the 2011 Northern Ireland Social and Political Attitudes Survey, the results suggest that individual victims—those who directly and/or indirectly experienced violent incidents—are notably less supportive of a punitive approach towards the treatment of former political prisoners than non-victims. Moreover, this is particularly the case when victims from within the Catholic community are considered. The Northern Ireland evidence suggests that victims can act as a positive and inclusive force in terms of the rehabilitation and re-integration of former combatants in societies emerging from conflict.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-761
Number of pages21
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number4
Early online date12 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • former political prisoners
  • Northern Ireland
  • peace settlements
  • spoilers
  • victims

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