Research & Policy Development


“The Commissioner may undertake, commission or provide financial or other assistance for research or educational activities concerning the interests of victims and survivors or the exercise of his functions.”

– Victims and Survivors Order 2006

How we research

Our approach to research is dependent on the research area. These approaches can be described as academic-led or action-based.  

Action-based research seeks to create change by linking together activities with reflective, qualitative research practices. This might include hosting an event which draws on the views of participants to inform our work and gain deeper understanding of issues.

Academic-led research is primarily about investigating what we already know about a topic, building on this knowledge and analysing findings to draw up-to-date conclusions.

We use our research as an evidence-base to help inform our advice to government and in our collaboration with other stakeholders to try and influence policy, funding streams, social or cultural change.


“The Commissioner shall advise the Secretary of State, the Executive Committee of the Assembly and any body or person providing services for victims and survivors on matters concerning the interests of victims and survivors”

– Victims and Survivors Order 2006

What is policy?

Government activity can broadly be broken down into the following categories; legislative, executive and judiciary.

Government policy is basically the actions planned by government on issues which are usually developed by a government department.

In Northern Ireland, the Assembly is the legislative body where laws are passed. The Northern Ireland Executive then deals with the operational activity such as implementing law and government policy.

How we advise

Northern Ireland has nine government departments which are led by Ministers.

The Commission falls under the sponsorship of The Executive Office in Northern Ireland and so our primary channel of providing advice is to the First and deputy First Ministers.

In the absence of a functioning Executive in Northern Ireland, our primary course of influencing government policy is through the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who leads the Northern Ireland Office.

The Northern Ireland Office are the UK Government’s team of civil servants responsible for all Northern Ireland matters at Westminster.

Would you like to get in touch? Call 028 9031 1000 or email [email protected]