Knowing about atrocities and suffering


The purpose of this assignment is to place the function of the Social Worker during the Northern Ireland Troubles and how this function has evolved and changed as a consequence of the struggle. To place positions and demo how Social Worker ‘s can assist victims and subsisters of the Troubles.I will get down by giving a brief history of what The Troubles are. I will place how understanding psychological theory and positions can assist in respects to understanding the problems and the mental illness effects of it. I will so place what the Social Worker ‘s function has been during and after the Troubles, and will place the demands of victims and subsisters of the struggle. Reasoning with what can be done in the hereafter for better pattern and apprehension of demands.

The History of the Troubles

The Troubles in Northern Ireland are difficult to specify and even harder to warrant the history in such a short assignment. So the following few paragraphs are a sum-up of the Troubles and are non meant to be a elaborate history of over 30 old ages of force.The battle of the Troubles consisted of decennaries of force between two communities ; the Protestant ( Unionist ) Community and the Catholic ( Nationalist ) Community. The beginning of the struggle is slightly debated on both sides, but the chief subject for the cause of the Troubles was the nationalist opposition to the British authorities ‘s regulation in Northern Ireland every bit good as the favoritism shown to them by a Unionist Majority. (

uk/northern_ireland ) .It was Paramilitary groups who distinguished the force and escalated it to a national degree by affecting persons to take “ one side or the other ” . One of the chief purposes of the Provisional IRA ( a nationalist side ) was to stop British Rule and go a United Ireland, incorporating with Southern Ireland for one overall state. The British Army and the Police became involved in the force around the same clip, who claimed they were impersonal and there for the protection of citizens in Northern Ireland, but were seen as unwelcome and cabaling with the Unionist Paramilitaries, in peculiar the Ulster Volunteer Force ( UVF ) against Nationalists. The Ballast probe by the Police Ombudsman confirmed that the British Forces and in peculiar the RUC, did collude with loyalist paramilitaries ( ) during these times.After about Thirty Old ages of force, over 3,600 deceases, 40,000 injured ( Manktelow, 2007 ) and 100s of 1000s emotionally affected, ceasefires were reluctantly introduced.

Best services for writing your paper according to Trustpilot

Premium Partner
From $18.00 per page
4,8 / 5
Writers Experience
Recommended Service
From $13.90 per page
4,6 / 5
Writers Experience
From $20.00 per page
4,5 / 5
Writers Experience
* All Partners were chosen among 50+ writing services by our Customer Satisfaction Team

These required most paramilitary forces to decommission armed arms and the former Royal Ulster Constabulary be reformed into the PSNI ( Police Service of Northern Ireland ) with the debut of equality in employment for both communities within the Police Service. The most recent peace procedure became better known as the Belfast Agreement of 1998, this set up Political constructions and policy demands for peace edifice in Northern Ireland ( Manktelow, 2007 ) but with Northern Ireland staying portion of the United Kingdom until a bulk ballot chooses otherwise (

uk ) .There were many events in the Troubles history that were important in the struggle, normally events which produced the most tragedy and decease, such as Bloody Sunday, The Hunger Strikes or one of the last big scale Acts of the Apostless of force ; The Omagh Bomb. But what remains evident is how the Troubles still affect people today despite the Belfast Agreement being 10 old ages old this twelvemonth. The Social and Political effects of the Troubles still seem apparent in Northern Irish society, including segregation in lodging, instruction and individuality.

Equally good as the psychological affects researched in surveies of societal individualities and the construct of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ( PTSD ) of the Troubles.

The Psychological Cost of the Troubles

Equally good as the Physical effects of the Troubles, psychological effects such as mental unwellness remain one of the chief factors that should be approached in societal work pattern ; this will assist understand the impact the Troubles had on a population. The initial physical struggle may hold, but the psychological affects still remain evident in research and analysis.

Some signifiers of psychological effects include depression and anxiousness, but one of the chief factors is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ( PTSD ) ; it is a peculiar signifier of anxiousness that may happen following exposure to a traumatic event ( McDermott et al. , 2004 ) . In a survey of mental sick wellness of victims of Troubles related force during the 1980 ‘s one fifth of the sample analysed suffered from PTSD for longer than three months ( Loughrey et al, . 1988 cited in Manktelow, 2007 ) .

Harmonizing to Carson 1997 there are five classs that may act upon an person ‘s response injury and in peculiar PTSD ; these are biological factors, developmental phase at clip of injury, badness of injury, societal context and yesteryear and future life events ( McDermott et al. , 2004 ) . The chief intercession employed in PTSD was Cognitive Therapy, this aimed to modify a individual ‘s reaction to a certain event, and this was done by analyzing negative appraisals associated with the event and its wake ( Manktelow, 2007 ) .The impact of the Troubles on kids turning up in Northern Ireland has been widely debated with a scope of negative affects being identified but badness of affects being disputed. It is now accepted that kids and striplings every bit good as grownups may see PTSD after being involved in a catastrophe. Harmonizing to Pynoos and Nader ( 1993 ) kids, similar to grownups, respond to trauma with the full array of PTSD Symptoms ( Hayes and Campbell, 2000 ) .

In recent old ages nevertheless it is now brought into inquiry the header and resiliency of kids, and the accommodation to conflict ( Muldoon, 2004 ) .Some of the get bying mechanisms identified by psychologists towards get bying with trauma claim that victims of the Troubles, to continue mental good being will follow one of three ways ; To deny the being of the struggle, to distance themselves from the force, or to use the force into their mundane lives and see it as normalcy ( Manktelow, 2007 ) . Coping may besides be affected by the degree of societal support available, research by Dillenburger et al. , showed that persons who were able to speak openly to household members and friends were more able to get by with traumatic experiences.

( Dillenburger et al, 2008 ) . Another positive impact on get bying besides seemed to be social alteration and in peculiar the debut of the Good Friday Agreement, which brought with it altering forms and lower degrees of force ( Dillenburger, 2008 ) , although a review of this would bespeak that although this may hold helped with some persons of the problems, for others it would hold increased anxiousness and depression, particularly with the debut of the early release of captives ( Dillenburger, 2008 ) .Despite all the instruction and cognition that surrounds the psychological effects of the problems, with mental unwellness and emotional support needed, societal worker ‘s are by and large non good trained to cover with this ( Campbell and Healey, 1999 ) .

This will be analysed in the following subdivision which deals with the function of societal workers and the demands of victims and subsisters of the problems.

The Social Worker ‘s Role in the Northern Ireland Troubles

As antecedently discussed, the Troubles were personified by intense force which traumatised persons, households and communities ( Fay et al, 1999 cited in Campbell and Pinkerton, 2002 ) , but for Social Work this brought about a new epoch, and new construction to the business, employment was expanded and a new professional position given to the occupation with the debut of new wellness and societal service boards ( Campbell and Pinkerton, 2002 ) . These boards achieved the purpose of dividing statutory wellness and societal services from the segregation felt by the remainder of the state from favoritism and denominationalism. This provided staff with the ability to detach from wider society and remain impartial with non-sectarian position ( Campbell and Pinkerton, 2002 ) . This was a alone profession that could take individualities in a Social Work puting for the ability to care and transport out a occupation for service users.

However there was a monetary value to pay for the success of such pattern ; either Social workers retreated from battle with society, later losing openness and duty ( Campbell and Pinkerton, 2002 ) , or values were tested and the professional function compromised with the force per unit area from household and friends to demo group solidarity, and hence the “ other side ” being perceived as the enemy or incorrect ( Cohen 2001 cited in Ramon et Al, 2006 ) . Ramon et Al argues that “ while it is easier for most people in the context of a political struggle to handle the victims of one ‘s ain societal group with the regard and attention they require, it is much more hard to follow a similar stance towards members of the other societal group ( s ) in the difference. Therefore, the desirableness and feasibleness of the separation of the professional, the personal and the political dimensions in the lives of societal workers is earnestly questioned within the context of political struggle ” ( Ramon et al, 2006 )Smyth and Campbell ( 1996 ) claim that developing societal workers to be anti-sectarian is so hard because of fright and bias that operates nuance within any group of pupils brought up in Northern Ireland ( Campbell and Healey, 1999 ) . But covering with such positions is critical for societal work pattern, if societal workers do non recognize them ; “ there is a fright that ideas and behaviors will implement silences and prevent chances for rapprochement and/or normalise the ways of working in an unnatural context ” ( Campbell and Healey, 1999 ) .So with sectarian positions being apparent throughout Northern Irish society, how do societal worker ‘s tackle these for an efficient and effectual service for users? What seems to be cardinal in Social Work pattern is to dispute our ain positions and feelings on denominationalism, to be self cognizant and a brooding practician. To develop accomplishments and implement anti-discriminative policies and statute law that were introduced to dispute denominationalism and favoritism.Since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 there has been a demand to cover with past injury of the struggle and to place the demands of victims and subsisters. The accent of this within a societal work scene is to advance multidisciplinary teamwork and the engagement of a mixture of Health and Social Services that will take to a better attack to trauma ( Campbell and Healey, 1999 ) .

The Needs of Victims and Survivors

A victim is defined as “ The lasting physically and psychologically injured of violent, struggle related incidents and those close relations or spouses who care for them, along with the close relations or spouses who mourn their dead ” ( OFDFM, 2002, 1.2 )Research shows that despite a Social Work presence in Northern Irish society during the Troubles, the demands of victims were mostly unmet for many old ages ( Manktelow, 2007 ) . The chief support victims relied on was that of household and friends.

Those without extended household support had to get by as best they could on their ain, and harmonizing to Manktelow, 2007 this spread should hold been filled by the societal work services. So why was n’t this the instance? During the 1980 ‘s Social Work was an business designed to be everyday instead than originative, disciplinary instead than developmental, and targeted on persons instead than their societal milieus, this reflected the boards precedences during this clip ( Campbell and Pinkerton, 2002 ) . Group representatives criticized the statutory wellness and societal services for neglecting to admit or supply services for the psychological and emotional effects of the Troubles, on wellness and good being ( Manktelow, 2007 ) . It has merely been in recent old ages where specializer injury services have been introduced to supply the necessary accomplishments and preparation to cover with such injuries ( Manktelow, 2007 ) .There are a figure of accounts into why societal worker ‘s failed to place the demands of victims and subsisters during the problems, and suggest that professionals had to see their ain safety and demands, every bit good as service users.

Second, as the affects of the force had been ignored by all facets of the community as a simulation of normalcy, the effect of this was disregarding any effects the force brought ( Manktelow, 2007 ) . Besides services provided by the province were seen as portion of the job, as the province itself was non accepted by parts of the Northern Irish community ( Manktelow, 2007 ) .So as the demands of victims have been identified, such as covering with the effects of injury, anxiousness and emphasis, how can these demands be met? What seems to be evident is the being on non-statutory services in assisting support victims trade non merely with injury, but with human rights and justness ( Manktelow, 2007 ) . Post-ceasefire has besides had a important consequence on assisting victims, for the first clip persons feel unfastened and free to speak about past experiences and debate the subject of political force ( Manktelow, 2007 ) , this can hold a important consequence on recovery as specific demands can be met merely from this. Social work and statutory services besides have a portion to play in supplying support to victims, such as guidance and mediation and the accomplishments to make this efficaciously ( Manktelow, 2007 ) . As Northern Ireland is still really much segregated community based services are extremely recommended.


So with the Belfast Agreement being a decennary old this twelvemonth, it brings with it a new apprehension of the demands of victims and subsisters of the Troubles. The demand for voices to be heard, and rapprochement required, to retrieve the agony and admit the jobs victims face. Social work plays an of import function in this, by acquiring the voices heard and reacting to them ( Campbell and Pinkerton, 2002 ) . By using values such as anti-discrimination, anti-oppressive pattern, societal justness and rights, societal work can endeavor to alter sentiments and positions, to play an of import function in supplying effectual societal services.The purpose of this assignment was to place and depict how societal workers have dealt with the effects of political force and to discourse ways in which they can assist victims and subsisters of the struggle.

Social worker ‘s have dealt with the effects of political force by seeking to remain impartial and anti-sectarian throughout their occupation. They try to stay impersonal and hide personal individualities, so non seem discriminatory against their service users, but besides for their ain protection. Social workers help victims by supplying a scope of accomplishments, cognition and values to their pattern, despite being seen as working for the province and this being perceived as portion of the job. Equally good as statutory services, there is besides a scope of voluntary administrations who are dedicated to placing demands and back uping victims of the Troubles.

What is still needed though is more community integrating and community services available, as most of the services provided are still segregated.


  1. Cohen, S. ( 2001 ) States of Denial: Knowing about Atrocities and Suffering, London, Polity Press. cited in Ramon, S. , Campbell, J. , Lindsey, J. , McCrystal, P. and Baidon, N.

    ( 2006 ) ‘The impact of political struggle on societal work: experiences from Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine, British Journal of Social Work, 36 ( 3 ) , 435-450.

  2. Campbell, J. , Healey, A. ( 1999 ) ‘Whatever you say, say something ‘ : the instruction, preparation and pattern of mental wellness societal workers in Northern Ireland ‘ Social Work Education, 18 ( 4 ) , 389-400.
  3. Dillenburger, K.

    Fargas, M. Akhonzada, R. ( 2008 ) Long Term Effects of Political Violence: Narrative Inquiry Across a 20-Year Period. Qualitative Health Research, 18 ( 10 ) , 1312-1320.

  4. Fay, M.T, Morrissey, M.

    and Smyth, M. ( 1999 ) Northern Ireland ‘s Troubles: The Human Costs, London: Pluto. Cited in Pinkerton, J. and Campbell, J.

    ( 2002 ) ‘Social Work and Social Justice in Northern Ireland: Towards a New Occupational Space ‘ , British Journal of Social Work, 32 ( 6 ) , 723-737

  5. Hayes, P. and Campbell, J ( 2000 ) ‘The psychological sequelae and province response to Bloody Sunday ‘ , Research on Social Work Practice 10 ( 6 ) , 705-721.
  6. Loughrey, G. , Bell, P. , Kee, M. , Roddy, R. and Curran, P.

    ( 1988 ) ‘Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Civil Violence in Northern Ireland ‘ , British Journal of Psychiatry 153: 554-60. cited in Manktelow, R. ( 2007 ) ‘The Needs of Victims of the Troubles in Northern Ireland: The Social Work Contribution, Journal of Social Work, 7 ( 1 ) , 31-50.

  7. Manktelow, R. ( 2007 ) ‘The Needs of Victims of the Troubles in Northern Ireland: The Social Work Contribution, Journal of Social Work, 7 ( 1 ) , 31-50.

  8. McDermott, M. , Duffy, M. , and McGinness, D. ( 2004 ) ‘Addressing the psychological demands of kids and immature people in the wake of the Omagh bomb, Child Care in Practice, 10, 141-154.
  9. Muldoon, O. ( 2004 ) .

    Children of the Troubles: The Impact of Political Violence in Northern Ireland, Journal of Social Issues, 60 ( 3 ) , 453-468

  10. Pinkerton, J. and Campbell, J. ( 2002 ) ‘Social Work and Social Justice in Northern Ireland: Towards a New Occupational Space ‘ , British Journal of Social Work, 32 ( 6 ) , 723-737.
  11. Pynoos, R. , & A ; Nader, K. ( 1993 ) . Issues in the intervention of posttraumatic emphasis in kids and striplings.

    In J. Wilson & A ; B. Raphael ( Eds. ) , International enchiridion of traumatic emphasis syndromes ( pp. 535-550 ) . New York: Plenum. cited in Hayes, P. and Campbell, J ( 2000 ) ‘The psychological sequelae and province response to Bloody Sunday ‘ , Research on Social Work Practice 10 ( 6 ) , 705-721.

  12. Ramon, S. , Campbell, J. , Lindsey, J. , McCrystal, P.

    and Baidon, N. ( 2006 ) ‘The impact of political struggle on societal work: experiences from Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine, British Journal of Social Work, 36 ( 3 ) , 435-450.

  13. Smyth, M. , & A ; Campbell, J.

    ( 1996 ) . Social work, denominationalism and anti-sectarian pattern in Northern Ireland. British Journal of Social Work, 26, 77-92 14. Victims Unit, OFM & A ; DFM ( 2002 ) Reshape, rebuild, achieve: Delivering practical aid and services to victims of the struggle in Northern Ireland, Belfast: OFM & A ; DFM.

Web sites:

  • hypertext transfer protocol: //
  • hypertext transfer protocol: //
  • hypertext transfer protocol: //