Source: (2001) Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association. 109th meeting, San Francisco California. August 24-28, 2001.

Countries are increasingly facing the question of transgenerational transmission of trauma from their previous acts of war, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. How countries choose to confront that past has significance on the future course of their society. Truth commissions have been used by many countries as a means to collect accounts of torture, murder, and abduction committed against an identified enemy. Their aim is to write an historical record of the abuses of the past through the testimony of the survivor-victims. The fear and isolation that people have experienced is often replaced by restorative justice through the dealing of these commissions. With restorative justice, the victims, rather than the state are the focus of the healing. The problem remains of being able to offer a context to survivors for processing the trauma sufficiently and to have the words to describe what has occurred.