- Target Audience
- Educators/academicsVictims of terrorismYouth/pupils/students
- key themes association
- (Early) preventionVictims of terrorism
- Peer Reviewed practice
Directorate-General for Support to Victims of Terrorism is a specific administrative unit within the Ministry of the Interior of Spain. It has a special and unique objective: the comprehensive care of the victims of terrorism, as regards the handling and processing of compensation and other material aid to which they are entitled, and also as regards personalised attention to the victims and their families, giving them not only support and assistance, but also helping them in the multiple formalities that they need to carry out. This Directorate General acts as a one-stop shop for all their requests and applications sent to the Public Administration.
It is also worth highlighting that the support and assistance provided to victims of terrorism is not limited to the moment of the attack. They will continue to have it over time.
Type of Organisation: Governmental institution
The Spanish Project entitled “Testimonies of victims of terrorism in the classrooms” is part of the training programme sponsored jointly by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Education. Its purpose is twofold: to teach students about the history of terrorism in Spain (which is already included as part of the official educational study plan) and to sensitise the younger generations against violence in order to prevent radicalisation by showing the painful and senseless consequences of terrorism through the voices of those who have suffered them. The voice and direct testimony of the victims is a very powerful tool for rejecting violence.
The project consists of sessions of talks delivered by victims of terrorism (direct victims or close relatives of the victims) to students in their 4th year of ESO (15-16 years old) and Bachillerato (16-18 years old) at their schools.
The victims explain to them how they experienced the attack and how it affected their life and the lives of their loved ones. Previously, the teacher has explained to the pupils the history of terrorism in Spain, through educational materials that the Ministry has provided. Following the personal testimonies there is a debate during which the victim responds to students’ questions.
Steps of the project:
- Preparation of the training materials about ‘History of Terrorism’ in Spain, that will be delivered to schools.
- Invitation to the Autonomous Regions’ educational authorities to join the Project on a voluntary basis (the competence of educational administration lies within the Regions and not at the State level administration). In the 2022-2023 academic year, high schools may directly request the organisation of a talk.
- Selection & training (story-telling techniques, communication skills & skills to avoid secondary victimisation) of victims of terrorism with residence in the Autonomous Region where the talk is going to take place.
- The Directorate-General for Support to Victims of Terrorism organises the logistical arrangements and its staff accompany the victim to the school, acts as “conductor” of the event and moderator during the debate and provides any emotional care requested to avoid a possible “secondary victimisation”.
- Follow-up of the activity to evaluate its impact and results.
Even if similar experiences have been carried out both in Spain and in other countries, this project has some differences. Firstly, it is the scope (the large number of schools, victims and students involved). Secondly, the initiative and the desire come from the government, which guarantees the continuity of the project and its fullest support.
Follow up reports with all the stakeholders involved in the project (victims, teachers, Autonomous Communities authorities and supervisors).
Seven teaching units, named “Memory and prevention of terrorism”, delve into the history of terrorism and the rejection of terrorist violence. They also highlight the respect and consideration for the victims of terrorism.
These teaching units are published in the four co-official languages of Spain and in English as well.
Teachers from different autonomous communities are trained so that they can adequately implement the study of the teaching units in the classroom and carry out the testimony of victims of terrorism activity. These training courses started in 2021 and will continue in the current academic year.