ICRT is a not-for-profit organisation based in Northern Ireland. We partner with agencies and communities to assist them to address mental health and related needs arising from conflict and war.
As a social entrepreneurial organisation ICRT works at the nexus of mental health, social justice, conflict management and peace making. Our extensive practical experience of conflict-related trauma is based on over 25 years work in Northern Ireland and in other conflict areas. This included the development of a range of PTSD and trauma-related programmes (therapy, research, training, advocacy and humanitarian work) at the Northern Ireland Centre for Trauma and Transformation (NICTT), which operated from 2002 to 2011. The NICTT developed research partnerships, new trauma-related therapeutic practices, workforce training programmes, and policy support for politicians and service commissioners.
The Initiative for Conflict Related Trauma (ICRT) was formed in 2012 to build directly upon the experience of the NICTT
The ICRT is incorporated under the Companies Act 2006 (No. NI618531) as a Community Interest Company; ICRT is a private company limited by guarantee, and is registered in Northern Ireland.
Our Theory of Change
In many divided or contested societies affected by conflict, the victims of violence may become victims of the peace and if this remains unrecognised, appropriate services and support are unlikely to develop. Violent conflict and war have serious adverse implications for the mental health of populations. Our experience and analysis shows us that the legacy of violence in Northern Ireland and elsewhere gives rise to immediate, long term and intergenerational humanitarian and public health needs that warrant attention as a core part of political peace processes.
Peace processes both create, and depend upon, social sustainability. If left unattended, the mental health burden of conflict impedes positive engagement by affected populations in post-conflict reconstruction and undermines the social sustainability of communities recovering from conflict. ICRT’s experience shows that psychological and mental health needs should be acritical concern for the task of peace-building so as to promote and support engagement with the emerging civic society and to encourage stakeholding in the post-conflict community.
Strategic and imaginative thinking as a key part of peace building will be needed to address such adverse outcomes and risks. It is important to ensure that appropriate and effective policies, along with effective and innovative services, are developed. This is especially true in the context of sectarian or protracted civil conflict, as the legitimacy and definition of victims and survivors may be contested.
To ensure that effective services are routinely and readily accessible, attention needs to be given to the meanings communities have of their experience of violence and to understanding trauma-related population needs, policy development, service design and delivery arrangements, as well as practice standards, workforce development and training requirements. Also, funders and service commissioners will have an interest in ensuring that investments will reach those most in need and produce the best possible outcomes for humanitarian relief and positive social impact.
I have many times asked myself whether there can be more potent advocates of peace upon earth through the years to come than this massed multitude of silent witnesses to the desolation of war.
King George V, Flanders, 1922
ICRT gratefully acknowledges the use of photographs by Prof. Paul Seawright, Head of School of Art & Design, University of Ulster, Belfast. http://www.paulseawright.info/books.html
ICRT is grateful for the support of The Lupina Foundation (Canada), The Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and the Wellesley Institute, Toronto in the development of this website.