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Lawyer earns doctorate on victims’ aftercare policies
Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill
TILBURG – Victims of disasters want recognition and information. To better deal with tragedies, the Dutch government should develop a defined policy for follow-up treatment and care of victims. According to lawyer Karin Ammerlaan, who recently received her doctorate, compensation is generally not foremost on the minds of victims but they want to know why disasters happened and how those responsible will be held accountable. They also want formal apologies if that is in order, Ammerlaan concludes. Victims also find it important to be kept informed concerning investigations and the settlement of damages. All these points help people to deal with their grief. Ammerlaan notes that the government’s communication record requires improvement, and that it has played a growing role in tragedies such as the Bijlmer plane crash, the Volendam new year’s eve fire and the Schiphol detention centre fire. She also concludes that the Dutch require updated liability legislation for group claims, suggesting that U.S. laws could serve as a model.