Victim Support still supporting survivors of the Westminster attack one year on
22 March 2018
One year on, independent charity Victim Support is still supporting survivors and witnesses of the Westminster terrorist attack. The charity that provides specialist emotional and practical support to victims of all crimes, including terrorism, had contact with over 150 people following the Westminster attack last year to offer information and support.
Through Victim Support’s local services, its Homicide Service and national Supportline number, the charity has helped survivors of terrorist attacks both at home and abroad. The charity’s International Visitors Victim Service has worked to support tourists caught up in the attacks in London.
Caroline Birkett, Major Incident Lead for independent charity Victim Support said: “Last year alone we had contact with over 1,400 survivors of terrorist attacks from Westminster through to Parsons Green, which illustrates the wide impact of these attacks. “It’s important to remember that not only are those who are injured and the families of the bereaved affected, but these attacks also have a serious impact on witnesses. We need to ensure there is sufficient support available to them and that they are able to access this easily.”
Over half of the requests for help following the Westminster attack were for psychological and emotional issues. Common issues included struggling to cope, difficulty sleeping, flashbacks and a fear of being alone. Following the Westminster attack Victim Support increased capacity to its national Supportline number to allow it to become 24/7, responding to demand. With the major incidents that followed in 2017 this has remained and Victim Support continues to provide essential out of hours contact for victims of crime seeking help and advice.
Birkett continued: “With terrorist attacks sadly becoming more frequent, this puts additional pressure on victim services to provide the specialist support needed, which can be required for years after the incident. “It’s vital that local emergency plans are fit for purpose and there is a clear and resilient victim services system in place to guarantee that those affected by terror attacks can get the support they need no matter where they live, for as long as they need it.”
Victim Support’s report into support for survivors or terrorist attacks highlights the number of services and organisations that are part of the response. “We must all continue to work collaboratively to ensure there’s a clear pathway for those seeking help and that their experience is as seamless as possible, giving them access to all the information they need from the start.”
Despite all five UK attacks taking place in Manchester and London last year, Victim Support’s local teams have provided support to survivors across 27 police force areas in England and Wales, from as far as Cumbria to Devon and Cornwall. Through its International Visitors Victim Service, which provides support to foreign victims of crime in London, the charity has also supported tourists from South Korea and France who have been affected by terrorist incidents this year.
Anyone seeking help can contact Victim Support on their free 24/7 Supportline number – 0808 16 89 111 or via the website – www.victimsupport.org.uk If you would like to donate to support victims of terrorism you can do so through Victim Support’s One UK Appeal online or text OUKA18 £10 to 70070.
For more information please contact the Victim Support press office on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7268 0202.
About Victim Support: Victim Support is the independent charity for victims and witnesses of crime in England and Wales. Last year we offered support to more than 1.2 million victims of crime. Victim Support runs the Homicide Service supporting people bereaved through murder and manslaughter and more than 100 local projects which tackle domestic violence, antisocial behaviour and hate crime, help children and young people and deliver restorative justice. The charity has around 1,100 staff and more than 3,000 volunteers.