Reparations for sexual violence in transitions from conflict
: Harm, identity, vulnerability and repair

  • Sunneva Gilmore

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Sexual violence in times of conflict has garnered much attention, but there remains little analysis on what appropriate reparations look like for these violations that connects the medical understanding of harm with their practical implementation. This thesis critically examines the role of reparations for these victims, paying attention to the intersection of medical notions of healing and repair with the broader practice of transitional and restorative justice. Taking a socio-legal approach from a medical background, it offers a comprehensive exploration of the harm experienced by victims. In particular, it identifies gaps in the understanding of harm that have a corresponding effect on repairs. The thesis is based on a mixed methods approach that draws upon desktop analysis of relevant literature complemented by fieldwork in three transitional societies (Colombia, Peru and Uganda). Interviews and focus groups were used to explore core themes of the thesis with key stakeholders including victims, transitional justice actors and healthcare professionals. The analysis in the thesis is thematic, inductive and comparative across three case sites selected for their differing stages in the life cycle of transitional justice.

Thesis embargoed until 31 December 2026.
Date of AwardDec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsNorthern Ireland Department for the Economy
SupervisorRachel Killean (Supervisor) & Kieran McEvoy (Supervisor)

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