Victims

The Progressive Unionist Party believes that the progress towards peace and reconciliation must include realistic measures to assist the people of Northern Ireland to find healing for the scars and hurts, both physical and psychological, that have been inflicted upon both sections of our divided community over the past twenty-five years. Genuine concern for healing in the community will lead us to acknowledge that no one section of the community has the sole right to claim the title "victim" and that no one section of the community ought to be branded forever as the sole perpetrators of wrongdoing.

The party believes that we must seek to engage victims and their representatives in the whole healing process and that the definition of "victimhood" must be all inclusive. We reject the notion that so-called provocative and precipitative victims and their relatives should be treated less favourably than the so-called "innocent" or "unrelated" victims and insist that the term "victim" must be inclusive of all persons who have suffered directly or indirectly during the past twenty-five years of armed conflict and political violence.

We recognise that each victim is unique and that consequently each individual victim must be recognised as an individual and his/her needs must be addressed individually. To this end we believe that community-based victim support groups, staffed and managed by victims and their confidants, are the best vehicle to articulate the fears and feelings of their own people and to deliver the services and resources most appropriate to their needs. Such groups must be given the same kind and degree of recognition, support and financial assistance as those statutory and professional agencies which pay lip service to the task of supporting and representing victims.