Glencree has learnt after 40 years of hard peace building that if we do not deal with the difficult issues of our violent past we will struggle to build a truly lasting peace.  Today, a damaging legacy of the violence is still widespread.  Many live with persistent hurt and trauma which is currently being passed down to future generations.  There is still a great need to re-humanise relationships from what was a very de-humanising conflict.   This is not only deeply affecting the lives of individuals, families and communities but is also, through no fault of those affected, impacting on progress towards building a lasting peace.

In April 2014, Glencree commissioned research indicated a ‘distinct need’ for a new programme of work with victims/survivors, and former combatants particularly with those that have been reluctant to engage with others to date. This work recommenced in 2015 with groups that have been deeply affected by the violence of ‘The Troubles’.

Aim of Project

To support participants in their own journey of healing and reconciliation through providing a carefully facilitated process to share with others the hurt and traumatic events they have experienced and to hear the experiences of others as part of a re-humanisation of relationships.

This has three potential stage but each individual only goes as far as they wish – voluntary participation is vital to the process

  1. To share their experiences with a friendly / supportive group.
  2. When ready, to share those experiences with other people that have suffered and/or been involved in the conflict and for them to hear the experiences of those others. Dialogue can feature here as well as storytelling.
  3. The first two stages could lead, but only if individuals are willing and when ready, to create opportunities for voluntary truth recovery between those that have suffered and those that have caused harm or a representative of them. Learning additional information can be very important to the individual that suffered.

How this work is done?

Listening Circles

Circle work is a well-known and trusted methodology for doing this work.   A gentle yet firm mechanism which allows participants to address identified issues through personal storytelling with a series of open questions which facilitate dialogue into exploring deeper questions at a pace which suits participants.  Significant preparatory work in advance of this work is a core part of this process.

Victim Offender Dialogue

This is a process requiring time, preparation and willingness to participate which enables a victim to meet the person that caused the harm either directly or indirectly to them. Victims/Survivors often have many unanswered questions that only the person who caused the harm can answer. Significant preparatory work in advance of this work is a core part of this process.