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Children aged six seeking psychological support after Manchester terror attack

31 May 2017

In the week following the deadly terrorist attack in Manchester, independent charity Victim Support has been contacted by victims and witnesses seeking psychological help in dealing with the after-effects of the bombing, many of whom are children.

Ellen Miller, Victim Support’s Service Director for Northern England, said: ‘The majority of the people who have contacted us are people seeking emotional help. Over half of those who have reached out to us are people who were at the concert, and over one third of those are seeking help for children, some as young as six, who have been traumatised by what they witnessed.’

Victim Support offers free practical and emotional support to victims of terrorism both at home and abroad.

According to research carried out by Victim Support in 2016 into the effects of terrorism on victims and witnesses, 93.5% of survivors they spoke to suffered effects including difficulties sleeping, intense distress when reminded of the incident, anger, flashbacks and anxiety.

The requests for support received by the charity in relation to the Manchester attack are not only coming from those who were directly affected, but also friends and family of witnesses seeking help in supporting them.

Ellen continued: ‘There were over 20,000 people at the concert itself, and if you think of friends and family who are also now trying to help these people through this traumatic time, the knock on effect is huge.

‘Over two thirds of the friends of those directly affected by the attack who have reached out to us are looking for advice on how they can support them.’

While the highest number of requests for support received by the charity have been from Manchester, Lancashire and Yorkshire, Victim Support has also been contacted by those seeking help from all over England and Wales.

This news comes as Cheryl Stollery, who lost her husband in the Tunisian terror attack in June 2015, speak out about the help available to those affected by terrorism.

Cheryl said: ‘There is support out there and it’s about getting the right support that people need, that’s personal to them — this is how Victim Support can help.

‘Victim Support doesn’t just offer help to those directly affected, but also to witnesses affected by the incident. And these can be the very people who may not initially feel they need help. But in the days and weeks afterwards they can find the trauma becomes too hard to handle on their own.’

According to Victim Support, survivors can struggle to get information and help.

Ellen Miller continued:  ‘The message we want to get out there is that Victim Support is available to help anyone who has been affected by the attack — those who witnessed the attack first hand, and also those supporting people who have been affected.

‘We also want to make it clear that our support teams are ready to help now, but will also be available in the months following this tragedy, to offer the practical and emotional support that victims and witnesses deserve.

‘Victim Support is here no matter when or where an incident took place to offer free practical and emotional help.

‘Anyone who feels they need help can call us. We are a free service there for all and people should call our Supportline on 08 08 16 89 111.

‘We have dedicated case workers throughout the country able to help people and we have a range of practical and emotional support we can offer people including counselling and support sessions. And our service is completely confidential.

‘My message to anyone who has been a victim of this awful act in Manchester who feels they need help is to please call us.’

Victim Support’s Supportline number is 08 08 16 89 111 or you can get more details at victimsupport.org.uk.

Notes for editors

For more information please call Victim Support’s press office on 020 7268 0202 or email press@victimsupport.org.uk.

Statistics correct up to 31 May 2017

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