Victim Assistance Global Research Project
An extensive review of victim assistance for persons impacted by explosive ordnance
With the aim of presenting funding recommendations, The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation is currently conducting an extensive review of victim assistance for persons impacted by explosive ordnance (EO), focusing on three case studies: Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Cambodia.
The interpretive study intends to assess whether the selected countries are sufficiently supporting impacted persons, fulfilling their obligations to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as other pertinent national and international conventions, laws, and guidelines. We are also investigating whether the chosen countries have been, and continue to be, sufficiently supported by the international community.
We have carefully chosen three countries with particularly different contexts, as we want to understand how contextual factors impact the needs of affected individuals, as well as the necessary strategy to effectively assist them. In each country we are comprehensively reviewing the broad spectrum of victim assistance that should be accessible to affected individuals, including, but not limited, to emergency care, physical rehabilitation, social and economic integration, inclusive education, mental health support, and legal assistance. To complete this review, our team is carrying out field visits to hospitals, physical rehabilitation centres, residences, schools, vocational training programmes, and other relevant sites – covering rural, suburban, and urban areas. During these field visits the researchers are conducting semi-structured interviews with survivors and indirect victims, as well as operational and administrative staff of relevant subnational, national, and international entities from both the government and non-government sectors. We are gathering information from a wide range of sources to reduce the risk of tunnel vision, bias, or missing information. By ensuring that every stakeholder has equal opportunity to share their insight, we aim to build an inclusive understanding of the situation in each country, learning from as many perspectives as possible.
To bolster the field research, we are also conducting a comprehensive review of existing literature, as well as an analysis of quantitative data on funding streams, indicators of EO-related needs, and indicators of capacity, for each country.
Throughout 2021 we have been collecting information and building our research
Despite the difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, throughout 2021 we have been collecting information and building our research, conducting interviews with, and learning from, hundreds of affected individuals and representatives from governments and organisations.
Although we have made good progress, we have become aware that the task at hand – understanding if and how survivors and indirect victims are being effectively supported – is much more complex than anticipated. This is largely due to a vast lack of existing quantitative and qualitative data in the sphere of victim assistance – a lack of available data that translates to a dangerous lack of understanding. Dangerous because, without access to high quality and comprehensive information, the ability to effectively design, fund and implement effective victim assistance is hindered.
Within the timeframe and resource parameters that we had originally set, we saw that our research would be somewhat adding to but largely reiterating findings presented in the past. Instead, we decided to take an outcomes-based approach to the project and intensify our effort to achieve the desired outcomes of the project: increase available high-quality information on individuals and communities impacted by EO in the selected countries, as well as provide contextualised and informed funding recommendations for victim assistance. To enable this, we have increased the resources we are committing to the project and delayed the release of our report until spring 2022.
“‘We must not leave survivors behind’ has been the cry coming from Meetings of States Parties over several years now. It is our hope that the results of this research will start a process that ensures this does not happen.” – Lou McGrath, CEO, Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation.
Next year, we will present our contextualised funding recommendations to those with the capacity to begin, continue or increase their support for victim assistance programmes in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Cambodia. Also, if we identify findings and recommendations that can be applied across these three most-different contexts, we aim to take this a step further and present funding recommendations to be considered by relevant actors operating in other countries.
We made the difficult decision to extend our project because we believe that the sector is at a pivotal point. With 2025 fast approaching, and the availability of funding being heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, an already often overlooked group of people is at risk of being left behind. We are attempting to reduce this risk by increasing understanding and awareness of the often severe, reverberating, and protracted needs of survivors and indirect victims of EO harm.
We are not claiming that this report will solve the information and data deficit in the sphere, but we hope that this research will be a step towards more informed, effective, and sustainable funding for victim assistance. We also aim to apply innovative funding approaches to victim assistance, which, in a world where financial support is seemingly less available, may help make funding for victim assistance more accessible for donors.