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About this book

Considering an under-researched dimension of political violence, this interdisciplinary collection provides an extensive examination of terrorist victimisation. It explores how individual and public experiences of victimisation are constructed and how they are shaped by existing dynamics of violence.

Table of Contents



1. Introduction

Research that looks at the experience of victims of terrorism is underdeveloped, fragmented and often isolated from broader studies of the phenomenon of political violence. In the criminological and victimological disciplines, but more so in the sub-field of Terrorism Studies, victim-focused study is sparse. In the academic literature, the topic is often seen as peripheral to the study of the individuals who carry out the violence. Predominantly, victims are portrayed as the unfortunate subjects of random attacks, effectively representatives of a broader category of individuals for whom the violent communiqué is intended (Schmid, 2012).
Javier Argomaniz, Orla Lynch

Victims’ Experiences


2. Victims of Terrorism: Distinctive and Diverse Experiences

To envisage experiences as being both distinctive and diverse is an attempt to focus on two defining characteristics that illuminate the unique position of victims of terrorism. On the one hand, it is argued that victims’ experiences are sometimes similar yet fundamentally distinct from the experiences of victims of other violent crimes. Distinctiveness, on this account, rests on the premise that the political motivation, which invariably distinguishes motivation for acts of terrorist violence from the motivation for other violent crimes, necessarily distinguishes the experiences of victims of terrorism from victims of violent crime more generally. This is not to argue that all acts of terrorism are motivated solely by a political agenda, but it is to adopt an explanation and definition of terrorism that places central importance on politics with regard to motivation (English, 2009:48–55). Nor is it to ignore the fact that violent criminals with no political agenda will sometimes resort to the same tactics and thereby inflict the same kind of injuries on their victims as their political counterparts. Still less is it to suggest that victims of terrorism experience the political component in the violent act which harmed them in exactly the same way as it was envisaged and intended by the perpetrators of the violence. To the contrary, it is to acknowledge that victims of terrorism will generally experience politics in ways that run counter to the aims of the terrorists.
Robert Lambert

3. Victims of ETA in the Basque Country: Their Experience of Terrorist Threats

In 2011, after 50 years of violent existence, ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna — Basque Homeland and Freedom) announced a cessation of its armed activities. During this time, ETA used terrorist violence to achieve political ends, evolving in terms of target selection and strategies of violence. Attacks in the form of killings and/or bombings were perpetrated not only in the Basque Country but also all over the Spanish territory. However, besides the typical violence, other forms of activity, so-called low-intensity violence, were also carried out against targets, especially inside the Basque Country and Navarra regions; these locations were traditionally known as areas belonging to the terrorist organisation. This low-intensity violence, commonplace from the mid-1990s onwards, involved a wide spectrum of violent forms, such as physical aggression, arson attacks, coercion, intimidation, threats and extortion, among others. This strategy sustained a persistent context of pressure and harassment and because of this the so-called low-intensity violence was commonly referred to as the ‘violence of persecution’ (Gesture for Peace, 2000); it was however punctuated by the continuation of selective killings. The Basque Ombudsman noted that this ‘violence of persecution’ was mainly operationalised in the Basque Country, and predominantly against
people who have been critical towards ETA’s totalitarian project, such as democratic representatives, judges, prosecutors, the police, the military, prison officers, journalists, university professors, and businessmen, among others, are under terrorist threat.
(Ararteko, 2009b:635)
Javier Martín-Peña, Álvaro Rodríguez-Carballeira, Ana Varela-Rey, Jordi Escartín, Omar Saldaña

4. Victims and Perpetrators: A Clinician’s Account of Ex-child Soldiers and the Child Development Process in Sri Lanka

Given the pervasiveness of political violence and terrorism in certain geographic regions, it is reasonable to consider the impact of the violence as all-encompassing and therefore as a feature of child development in those communities. Growing up in an environment of perceived and actual violence is an unfortunate element of child development for large segments of the population existing in conflict zones. Apart from the children who witness, directly experience or silently incorporate the direct or intergenerational transmission of political violence, the complex experiences of another subgroup of children also need to be understood — child soldiers. As both victims and controversially termed ‘perpetrators’ of political violence, these children navigate the treacherous moral highway between child and adult notions of innocence, abduction, agency and culpability.
Carmel Joyce, Orla Lynch, Angela Veale

Support for Victims


5. Compensation and Financial Redress for Victims of Terrorism

This chapter has two purposes. The first is to identify and analyse the contemporary approaches to compensation and financial redress for the victims of terrorism mainly with reference to the United Kingdom. Three approaches can be discerned over time (Walker, 2011, chaps. 10, 11). The first is to deny any special claim for redress. The second approach is to develop special state compensation schemes. The third approach involves the private law civil litigation.
Clive Walker

6. State Responses to Victims of Terrorism Needs in Spain

Spain currently has one of the most advanced systems of support for victims of terrorism. Undoubtedly, this is explained by the long prevalence of political violence in the country: the longest-running terrorist organisation in Europe Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) is active since the 1960s and — albeit currently holding a permanent ceasefire — still operates. The degree and multiplicity of the violence is also an important factor: thousands of Spanish citizens have been targeted by armed groups operating at both poles of the ideological spectrum (extreme left and extreme right), separatist organisations, jihadist networks, operatives working for international terror groups and by state actors.
Javier Argomaniz

7. How Can the Experience of a Terrorist Attack Inform Public Health Priorities? Some Lessons from the London 7/7 Bombings

This chapter will examine the impact of terrorism on the physical and mental health of victims, and the insights this provides for the public health needs of urban populations facing ongoing terrorist threat. The main focus will be health outcome studies following the terrorist attacks on London on 7 July 2005 (known as the 7/7 Bombings). Qualitative accounts of individuals who survived the 7/7 Bombings, epidemiological data on physical and psychological injuries and satisfaction with and outcome of psychological screening and treatment offered to victims with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will be shared. These encapsulate the direct experiences of victims and health professionals after this particular terrorist attack and comparison with similar attacks in other cities are made. Firstly, our aim is to present evidence that demonstrates the need to have emergency public health protocols that facilitate the proactive and coordinated tracing of all victims, minutes to months, after a terrorist attack, to offer health assessment, monitoring and treatment and, thereby, facilitate robust data for much-needed epidemiological research. Secondly, we aim to show that outreach to victims must involve government and non-government agencies, the media and, arguably, the Internet, as normal referral routes to healthcare cannot be assumed to be reliable.
Naomi Wilson, Patricia d’Ardenne, Chris R. Brewin, Mike Catchpole

Victims of Counter-terrorism


8. Suspicion, Exclusion and Othering since 9/11: The Victimisation of Muslim Youth

For a number of years, but most particularly since the events of 9/11 and the transport bombings in London in 2005 (7/7), Muslim youth in Britain have been subjected to a corrosive stereotyping (Hamid, 2011). Youth, in particular male youth, have been at times portrayed as ripe for radicalisation, while female youth struggle with stereotypes related to misogynist religious traditions. While these constructions do little to enhance our understanding of British Muslim youth, they have become commonplace in media, policy and academic circles (Hamid, 2011). The attention to the Muslim youth potential for radicalisation and terrorism masks not only the reality of life for these youth but also serves to shroud the everyday experiences of youth in a veil of suspicion whereby identity categories become statements of loyalty or disloyalty to the state, where identity ranking is required to demonstrate national allegiance, where expressions of support for victims of war become an ideological position on terrorism and where transnational relationships become potential terrorist networks. These stereotypes also obscure the realities of youth processes, developments that are central to that period and shared across cultural, political and religious boundaries (Hamid, 2011). This chapter will address the notion of victimisation as experienced and expressed by Muslim youth in London and also examine the exclusion and othering experienced by this group.
Orla Lynch

9. Drone Attacks and Suicide Bombings: Reflections on Pakistan’s Victims

Drones or unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) are remotely operated pilotless vehicles that are equipped with a wide range of technology to gather intelligence, conduct reconnaissance or perform surveillance (ISR) and include a capacity for attacking targets with lethal weapons (Henderson, 2011:134–136). During the War on Terror, the United States has increasingly utilised drones against the remnants of the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in a number of locations such as Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is particularly the case in areas where American forces could not operate overtly on the ground. However, the use of drones in targeted killing operations has been controversial since its inception. Before September 2001, the United States itself had criticised and condemned the Israeli policy of targeted killings in which Israeli security forces used conventional military force to kill Palestinian opponents during and after Second Intifada (Kibbe, 2012). The root of the controversy lies predominantly in the questionable precision, efficacy and accuracy of drone attacks due to their ‘latency’ — the time duration between the capture of movement on the ground and the response of the drone after capturing images via satellite (Living Under Drones, 2012:9).
Muqarrab Akbar

10. Targeted Policing of Muslim Communities and Its Unintended Consequences: A Case Study of the NYPD’s Post-9/11 Counter-terrorism Programme

This chapter is a case study of the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) efforts to prevent al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism with targeted policing of New York area Muslim American communities between 2001 and 2013, and the resulting long-term negative consequences.
Tara Lai Quinlan


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