How Helpful are Networks?  The Functioning of the Psychosocial Emergency and Crisis Network (PSNV) as Regards to the Terrorist Attack on the Berlin Christmas Market in December 2016

Project duration: 01/04/2018 - 31/12/2020

Project investigators: Prof. Dr. Olaf Neumann (ASH Berlin), Prof. Dr. Vincenz Leuschner (HWR Berlin)

Project staff: Dipl.-Soz. Gabriele Besser (ASH Berlin), Dipl.-Psych. Friederike Sommer (HWR Berlin)

Partner: Notfallseelsorge/Krisenintervention Berlin (Emergency Pastoral Care / Crisis Intervention Berlin)


Project information PSNVNet

The year 2016 was marked throughout Europe by a large number of attacks and terrorist strikes, which have caused massive insecurity among the population. The terrorist attack on the Christmas market on Berlin's Breitscheidplatz on December 19, 2016 has shown that further attacks with possibly large-scale casualties could happen again in the future. It is therefore important to be prepared for such threats by developing emergency plans and effective interventions which will protect first responders and provide early and comprehensive support to victims.

The aim of the research project is to analytically reconstruct the actual working and the design of the psychosocial emergency care (hereinafter PSNV) during the crisis phase of a major loss situation based on the intervention after the attack on the Berlin Christmas market in 2016. Based on this analysis recommendations for quality criteria for future institutional organization, operation and handling of interfaces in such crisis situations should be developed.

During the project we will be working together with an “Emergency Counseling and Crisis Network” of eight organizations dealing with psychosocial emergency care whose members were first responders at the fatal attack on Breitscheidplatz.

Standards based on existing frameworks and agreements should be made more concrete and available to the institutions involved in the project. In addition to the immediate benefits of the expected project results for PSNV's Berlin actors, a medium-term and long-term benefit will be that a well-functioning and effective emergency response based on local civil society networks plays will strengthen people’s resilience in the face of terrorist attacks and other major catastrophes.

Funding: Berlin Institute for Applied Research - Institut für angewandte Forschung Berlin (IFAF Berlin)

Key words: Disaster Management, Quality Management