Victims of Terrorism (Module 14, UNODC University Module series: Counter-Terrorism)

The series of Modules on Counter-Terrorism Education, developed within the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, aim to provide a relevant and valuable resource for lecturers teaching courses on counter-terrorism in universities and academic institutions across the world. The Modules seek to enhance students’ understanding of terrorism, its implications and related issues by providing foundational knowledge on relevant international, regional and national instruments and approaches. To increase their effectiveness, the Modules aim to connect theory to practice, encourage critical thinking, and use innovative interactive teaching approaches such as experiential learning, case studies and group-based work. The Modules are multi-disciplinary and can be integrated in a series of courses ranging from law to international relations, sociology, anthropology, criminology and many other disciplines. Whilst the primary focus is on the United Nations instruments, the Modules leave room for diverse perspectives and lecturers can easily adapt them to different local and cultural contexts.

Counter-Terrorism_module_overview_imageModule 14. Victims of Terrorism

One of the primary consequences of terrorism – indeed, normally a principal terrorist objective – is that there are victims. This can take several different forms, such as the loss of life, personal injury, damage to property, being taken hostage, sexual violence and so forth. Yet sometimes the needs or perspectives of victims are overlooked or afforded insufficient attention by the international community. This Module, therefore, examines such issues, drawing upon both legal and interdisciplinary perspectives in examining applicable frameworks, exploring the meaning of key concepts such as ‘victim’ and ‘justice’, and seeking to better understand the needs of victims of terrorism as well as common justice or support challenges faced by them.

Learning outcomes

Consider the meaning and importance of key concepts, especially of “victim”, “trauma”, and “justice” in the specific context of victims.

Explain the international, regional and national legal frameworks governing the rights of victims of terrorism.

Identify some of the principal challenges for victims seeking justice, including reparation and compensation.

Understand the interdisciplinary perspectives, namely of traumatology and victimology, that provide a basis for examining these issues from the perspective of victims.

The full module is avaliable at UNODC website

TopicVictims of terrorism


Themes: Victims of terrorism