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Extracts from The Cost of the Troubles Study - Final Report (1999)



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Text: The Cost of the Troubles Study ... Page Compiled: Fionnuala McKenna

The following extracts has been contributed by the authors of the The Cost of the Troubles Study, with the permission of the publishers. The views expressed in this chapter do not necessarily reflect the views of the members of the CAIN Project. The CAIN Project would welcome other material which meets our guidelines for contributions.

front cover of book These extracts are taken from the book:

Final Report
The Costs of the Troubles Study
by The Costs of the Troubles Study (1999)
Paperback 72pp

Published:

Unit 14 North City Business Centre
Duncairn Gardens
Belfast
BT15 2GG

This publication is copyright The Cost of The Troubles 1999 and is included on the CAIN site by the authors and publishers. You may not edit, adapt, or redistribute changed versions of this for other than your personal use without express written permission. Redistribution for commercial purposes is not permitted.


Table of contents

Section

Executive Summary

Project Structure

Board of Directors

Advisory Group

Funding

Political Climate

Office Base

Staff of the Cost of the Troubles Study

Staff Support and Training

Projects

Dissemination of research findings

Outreach Work

International Work

Evaluation


Executive summary

Background to the Project

After the ceasefires from 1994 onwards, a group of people from all sections of the population in Northern Ireland who had direct experience of being bereaved or injured in the Troubles were brought together to discuss their contribution to the new political situation. The widespread determination to have violence permanently ended seemed to be based on the unspoken recognition of the damage done by the violence of the Troubles. This group formed The Cost of the Troubles Study’, which became a limited company and a recognised charity. In partnership with academic researchers from the university sector, a study of the effects of the Troubles on the population was planned and initiated. The research is conducted in line with participatory action research principles. This means that the management structure involves a range of people with direct experience of the effects of the Troubles.

· Board of Directors

The Board of Directors was the executive body who ran the project. The Board met roughly on the monthly basis, and the Chairperson regularly called in to the office to keep in touch with the issues on an ongoing basis.

· Advisory Group

The Advisory Group for the project was formed with the establishment of the project and was composed of both funders and various others with relevant experience in this field of work.

· Aim of the Project

The two-year project set out to examine the nature and prevalence of the effects of the violence of the Troubles on the general population of Northern Ireland. The original proposal for the 2-year project detailed the work, which it aimed to produce:

· an annotated directory of self-help groups related to the need of those injured or bereaved in the Troubles

· a mapped distribution of deaths during the Troubles

· an exploration of the relationship between deprivation, and the geographical distribution of deaths in the Troubles

· detailed qualitative illustrations of the diversity and range of experience and needs of those affected by the Troubles

· a measure of prevalence, extent and diversity of the effects of the Troubles on the general population of Northern Ireland

· a measure of the extent and range of services used by those affected by the Troubles, and their evaluation of those services

· a network of groups and individuals working on issues related to the effect so the Troubles.

The project’s succeeded in achieving all of those proposed aims through a number of interlinking projects.

Projects

· Database on deaths

This involved the creation of a database of deaths in the Troubles which records data on all those killed from 1969 to date. An analysis of the data on deaths was conducted in order to examine its relationship to other variables such as deprivation, geographic location and economic factors. The database was also used to calculate ward death rates and its analysis was published in two editions. An analysis of this database was published in two editions.

· Qualitative Data: The In-Depth Interviews

A series of in-depth interviews with a cross section of people throughout Northern Ireland was embarked upon, which served a number of functions. These interviews were to provide qualitative data on the range and diversity of people’s experience of the Troubles. Second, they were to provide subjective assessments of the effects of the Troubles on the range of people interviewed. Third, they were to form the basis for the questionnaire design, which was to be used in the survey. In all 75 interviews were conducted by the end of the project.

· Field Survey

The aims of the survey were to establish the prevalence of emotional and physical sequelae arising out of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and to identify the needs (health, emotional, social, financial) of those affected. This involved administering a questionnaire to a representative sample of the population of Northern Ireland. The results of the survey were analysed and published in a report entitled ‘Report on the Northern Ireland Survey: the experience and impact of violence’ Mike Morrissey and Marie Smyth (full technical report; short version).

· Survey of Victims Groups

The Cost of the Troubles Study were commissioned by the Victims Liaison Unit to conduct a survey of current groups serving the bereaved and injured in the Troubles, in order to establish a good base of information and further government policy in this area. The survey aimed to compile a comprehensive list of all community-based and voluntary organisations whose aim is primarily or more broadly to serve the needs of those bereaved or injured in the Troubles. It also wished to ascertain how each of these two categories of organisation fund their current provision of services to this group in order to establish the long term funding strategies and to explore possible or actual gaps in services provided by these two types of organisation. The final report of the analysis of the survey was completed in February 1999 and presented to the Victims Liaison Unit.

· Do You See What I See? Project with young people

This project was designed around focus group interviews with young people, which would then be illustrated by them through the medium of photography. The young people, in small groups explored their experiences of the Troubles and expressed themselves through photographic work, transcribed interviews and poetry. The resultant book is in its second edition, and the exhibition continues to be used by various groups raising issues about children and young people affected by the Troubles. In all the project lasted for five months, and the young people continued to work with the exhibition.

Dissemination

publications

· Mapping Troubles Related Deaths (two editions: 1969-1994 (out of print); 1969-1 998) Marie Therese Fay, Mike Morrissey and Marie Smyth.

· Half the Battle: Understanding the impact of the Troubles on children and young people. Marie Smyth.

· Do you see what I see? Young people’s experiences of the Troubles in their own words and images. Cost of the Troubles Study/Young people of Sunningdale Youth Group, Survivors of Trauma Woodvale Youth Group, Alexander Park Project and the Peace and Reconciliation Group in Derry, with Joy Dyer.

· Northern Irelands Troubles: The Human Costs, Marie Therese Fay, Mike Morrissey and Marie Smyth. London: Pluto Press, April, 1999.

· Irretrievable Losses: Personal Accounts of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Pluto Press, London, 2000. Marie Therese Fay and Marie Smyth. (In preparation)

· Report on the Northern Ireland Survey: the experience and impact of violence: Mike Morrissey and Marie Smyth (full technical report; short version)


Exhibitions

· Do You See What I See?

An exhibition of young peoples experience of the Troubles using their own words and photographs. The exhibition was created in partnership with young people from Woodvale Youth Group, Sunningdale Youth Group, Survivors of Trauma in North Belfast, The Alexander Park Project in Belfast, The Peace and Reconciliation Group and St. Eugene’s Primary School in Derry Londonderry and the Cost of the Troubles Study. Children and young people were interviewed or wrote about their experiences of the Troubles, their views and their hopes for the future. Belfast Exposed worked with the young people in Belfast in training them to take their own photographs, which were used to accompany the text of the book and exhibition.

· Do You Know What’s Happened?

The exhibition is composed of over twenty personal stories and excerpts from a further 55 stories. These are presented alongside powerful images and other findings of The Cost of the Troubles Study’s research in an exhibition which offers visitors the opportunity of exploring the worlds of others, their experiences of the Troubles, their sorrows, fears, ways of coping and the way their experiences have affected them.

· "The Festival of Trees"

Save the Children Fund invited The Cost of the Troubles Study to contribute a Christmas tree to the "Festival of Trees" at Aldergrove International Airport during Christmas 1998. Children from The Peace and Reconciliation Group in Deny Londonderry, Survivors of Trauma, WAVE and The Victims and Survivors Trust made Christmas decorations which carried messages about the effects of the Troubles on children. Statistics on the number of children killed in the Troubles and other background information was displayed alongside the tree which remained in the arrivals area throughout the Christmas period.

· Film

Work will begin in June 1999 on a 35 minute video film based on the work of the project, made by Northern Visions, and financed by the United States Institute of Peace.

· Webpages

Excerpts from all publications and the catalogue of the Do You Know What’s Happened? exhibition are posted on the CAIN website, http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cts Lists of publications and ordering details are also provided on the website.

· Talks, Conference Presentations and Workshops

During the project period, The Cost of the Troubles team delivered a number of talks, workshops and conference papers which are detailed in full.

· Media Coverage

Over the past two and a half years the Cost of the Troubles project attracted a substantial amount of media interest, local, national and international, in both print and broadcast form.


Evaluation

A review of the original aims of the project and comments on how and if they were achieved.

The original proposal for the 2-year project detailed the work, aimed to produce a range of outputs, which are listed earlier in this report. These were as follows:

· an annotated directory of self-help groups related to the need of those injured or bereaved in the Troubles: compiled by The Cost of the Troubles Study and available on request.

· a mapped distribution of deaths during the Troubles: this was published as first publication of the project, and reprinted in second edition

· an exploration of the relationship between deprivation, and the geographical

distribution of deaths in the Troubles: this was published as par of the first publication and a more extended analysis contained in Northern Ireland: The Human Costs Pluto, 1999.

detailed qualitative illustrations of the diversity and range of experience and needs of those affected by the Troubles: contained in both exhibitions and in the qualitative illustrations to the survey data, and in submissions to the Northern Ireland Victims Commissions and the Compensation Review Commission.

a measure of prevalence, extent and diversity of the effects of the Troubles on the general population of Northern Ireland: this is contained in the survey analysis and in the ward death rates.

a measure of the extent and range of services used by those affected by the Troubles, and their evaluation of those services: this was contained in the survey data, and in parts of the qualitative data.

a network of groups and individuals working on issues related to the effect so the Troubles: through the formation of the board, through our method of working by consultation with groups, by providing talks and workshops locally for groups, and through working with various groups and conferences, a more comprehensive network exists now than at the beginning of the project.


Exercise in Evaluation

We have available the following feedback on the project work:

· formal written feedback on the exhibitions

· informal comments from participants and consumers of the project material

· deductions on the usefulness of the information generated by virtue of the demand for it, in terms of data requests and requests for publications, presentations and exhibitions complaints about the project work

· The policy impact of the project

Insofar as this can be gauged at this point, the project has at least succeeded in raising the issue of targeting social need and questioning whether present methods and approaches adequately target those affected by the Troubles. Within the life-time of the project, there is some evidence of the impact of the data. Sir Kenneth Bloomfield in his report to the Secretary of State writes, "I have been able to draw not only upon useful Government statistics, but also upon the work of the Cost of the Troubles Study, directed by Marie Smyth." The project also made detailed submissions to the Victims Commission and responded to the "We Will Remember Them" report by Sir Kenneth Bloomfield. The project was also involved in talks with the Social Services Inspectorate in the process of drawing together their inspection of services to those affected by the Troubles, and made a response to their report, "Living with the Trauma of the Troubles’ '".

· Impact on public awareness

To properly evaluate the scale and nature of any impact on public awareness of the work of this project is another project in itself. However, insofar as the project recognised the importance of media coverage in accessing public attention and took steps to impact on public attention through the use of the media, at very least the task was engaged with. Partly due to the political backdrop to the project, media interest in the field was consistent throughout the project period, although some of that interest may not have been coherent with the goals of the project at certain moments.

Publication Contents


Projects

Database on deaths

This involved the creation of a database of deaths in the Troubles which records data on all those killed from 1969 to date: the date of death, the age, gender, first and second name of the person killed, their home address and postcode, the address at which they were killed and its postcode, their occupation, religion, affiliation (i.e. whether they were a civilian, paramilitary or member of the security forces) and the identity of the agency responsible for their death. This database was checked with existing sources and subsequently ward codes and district council codes attached to the home addresses and incident addresses for purposes of analysis.

Database analysis

An analysis of the data on deaths was conducted in order to examine its relationship to other variables such as deprivation, geographic location and economic factors. The database was also used to calculate ward death rates. This exercise was originally primarily conducted in order to provide a sample frame for phase three of the research in which it is proposed to draw a sample of 3,000 people throughout Northern Ireland for the survey of population. However, an analysis of this database was published in two editions, entitled Mapping Troubles Related Deaths in Northern Ireland 1969-1994 (first edition) and Mapping Troubles Related Deaths in Northern Ireland 1969-1998 (second edition).

Qualitative Data: The In-Depth Interviews

We embarked on a series of in-depth interviews with a cross section of people throughout Northern Ireland, which were to serve a number of functions. These interviews were to provide qualitative data on the range and diversity of people’s experience of the Troubles. Second, they were to provide subjective assessments of the effects of the Troubles on the range of people interviewed. Third, they were to form the basis for the questionnaire design, which was to be used in the survey.

In all 75 interviews were conducted by the end of the project. Since interviews were perceived to have a useful function for some interviewees, we continue to have requests to interview people. Some people feel the need to "tell their story" or have their story acknowledged by someone in a semi-official position, and we have, in part, filled some of this need for some people.

Arguably, the richest data on the experiences and effects of the Troubles in this project was collected in the in-depth interviews. However, it was anticipated that policy makers and others with a policy eye on these issues, might find a survey which ‘tested’ the wider validity and reliability of the qualitative data useful. Therefore, the qualitative data were collected and alongside being analysed and presented as qualitative data per se, they were also used to inform the design of a questionnaire.

Field Survey

The aims of the survey were to establish the prevalence of emotional and physical sequelae arising out of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and to identify the needs (health, emotional, social, financial) of those affected. This involved administering a questionnaire to a representative sample of the population of Northern Ireland. No existing questionnaire was adequate to the task, and it was necessary to develop an instrument for this purpose. To this end, a tripartite research strategy was employed:

· Phase one produced a database of deaths in the Troubles from 1969 to date. This database was used to calculate ward death rates. The database had been compiled primarily to provide a sample frame for the survey.

· Phase two involved conducting interviews with approximately 75 people to generate in-depth accounts for qualitative analysis. These data also informed the design of a questionnaire for use the field survey of a representative sample composed of 3,000 people drawn from the general population.

· Phase three consisted of the conduct and analysis of this survey. The analysis produced the normal frequency counts on the sample together with analysis of the geographical distribution of experiences and effects, a measure of stress and an analysis of its distribution in the sample population. Other issues for analysis are

(1) Household composition & the Troubles

(2) legal redress, compensation etc.

(3) The Most Affected Wards; and these issues will be dealt with in more detail
      in reports on further analysis of the survey data.

Phase three also consisted of the dissemination of the results of all findings of the project. This included publications and launches thereof, exhibitions and tours thereof, talks and conference papers.

Do You See What I See?
Project with young people


A group of young people involved in
'Do You See What I see?'

This project was stimulated by Joy Dyer’s approach to us requesting an internship. Joy found the project on the Internet and emailed asking for an internship. As was outlined earlier, the project was designed around focus group interviews with young people, which would then be illustrated by them through the medium of photography.

The objectives of the Project were:

  • To highlight and increase NGO’s awareness of people’s experiences of the Troubles and the effects of those experiences on the young people.

  • To advocate for European NGO funding and support of work with young people affected by the Troubles

  • To empower the young people to develop their own views and present them in exhibition and workshop form.

  • To increase the young people’s awareness of the experiences of young people in other community.

  • To facilitate exchange between young people from both communities in the development and presentation of the multi-media workshop.

  • To explore the needs of young people affected by the Troubles.

  • To develop a set of advocacy materials that the young people can use in future projects.

The young people, in small groups explored their experiences of the Troubles and expressed themselves through photographic work, transcribed interviews and in the case of the young people from the North West, poetry. They received professional training from Belfast Exposed on how to use images powerfully to represent stories. They encountered young people from the other community in workshops and encountered the photographic and textual work of the young people both in the exhibition and in the book. The young people were also assisted by project staff to provide educational workshops for adults on the impact of the Troubles on children and young people. The resultant book is in its second edition, and the exhibition continues to be used by various groups raising issues about children and young people affected by the Troubles. In all the project lasted for five months, and the young people continued to work with the exhibition

Survey of Victims Groups

The Cost of the Troubles Study were commissioned by the Victims Liaison Unit to conduct a survey of current groups serving the bereaved and injured in the Troubles, in order to establish a good base of information and further government policy in this area.

The survey had the following aims:

  1. To compile a comprehensive list of all community-based organisations whose aim is primarily to serve the needs of those bereaved or injured in the Troubles.

  2. To compile a list of organisations in the voluntary sector who offer services to this group as part of a broader range of services to the community.

  3. To ascertain how each of these two categories of organisation fund their current provision of services to this group.

  4. To establish the long term funding strategies of these two categories of organisation for funding services to those bereaved and injured.

  5. To explore possible or actual gaps in services provided by these two types of organisation.

The survey was completed in January 1999. Analysis of the data collected was completed and a first draft of the report was presented to the Victims Liaison Unit at the end of January 1999, and the final report was completed in February 1999.

Publication Contents


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