Articles Tagged ‘helpline - Brake the road safety charity’

Brake helpline for road crash victims

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For information about seeking legal support following a road crash, see Brake’s legal support webpage 


Brake's helpline is a quality accredited, Freephone, confidential support service, providing information and advocacy, emotional support and a listening ear.

To speak to our friendly, experienced and professionally trained helpline team, call 0808 8000 401, or contact us via email at helpline@brake.org.uk. The helpline is open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

The helpline provides support for UK residents in the following circumstances:

  • if you have been bereaved or seriously injured in a crash
  • if you are caring for someone bereaved or seriously injured in a crash
  • if you are a professional, such as a police officer, teacher or health worker, wanting advice about how to help people affected by a crash

We will provide support whether the crash was recent or a long time ago, and whether it occurred in this country or abroad.

Read more about who we can help and our helpline specification.

The Brake support team understands that every road crash is different, every caller is an individual and each set of circumstances is uniquely painful, and we tailor our support according to your needs. Our over-riding aim is to help you to feel able to cope, emotionally and practically, in the aftermath of the crash and as you adjust to your new reality. We can stay in touch with you for as long as our support continues to be helpful.

Our helpline officers are trained and experienced support professionals. We can help in different ways, according to your situation, tailoring our support to meet your needs.  

1. We offer emotional support

Our caring support staff will listen to your feelings, and enable you to freely express the emotions you are experiencing, if this is helpful to you. We can also provide reassurance that your feelings are normal in the awful circumstances, and direct you towards further sources of specialist or face-to-face support if this would be helpful:

  • Support from someone who’s ‘been there’:
    Some people find it helpful to talk to someone who has been through a similar experience. Our 'I've been there' service provides an opportunity for you to talk over the phone to a volunteer who has been affected by a crash in a similar way and has found a way forward with their life.
  • Help with symptoms of trauma:
    It may be that the initial shock and trauma of the crash remains with you and makes getting on with normal life very difficult. If you are suffering in this way, it is important to have an assessment with an expert and seek appropriate treatment, which is often a course of talk-based therapy. Our helpline officers can help you understand what you are going through and help you to access assessment and treatment through the NHS and elsewhere.
  • Finding the right face-to-face or specialist support for you and your family:
    We offer a personalised support-sourcing service for callers and their families, and our helpline team are experts in finding suitable local or specialist support, where this exists. This may be a locally-based support worker who can visit you at home or in hospital in the early weeks; a specialist support service for victims suffering a particular injury; online support or peer forums for bereaved young people; face-to-face counselling, bereavement support or other talking therapy; local support groups; carer support; befriending services; or any number of different types of help. Please be aware that this is a sourcing (researching) service, and specific types of support may not exist in all areas.

As well as contacting our helpline for emotional support, you can also read our book Coping with Grief online, or call the helpline for a free copy.

2. We provide practical help

Our helpline officers are trained in understanding and assisting with the practical issues that can affect families following a crash. We can provide information, guidance and advocacy to help you to understand and manage these issues in the best way for you and your family:

  • Information and guidance on a range of issues
    The aftermath of a road crash can leave you coping with stressful new experiences, such as navigating the criminal justice system, becoming a carer or facing financial hardship. We can help you to understand criminal justice procedures and other practical matters, further explain any of the information provided in our support guides, talk through any problems you are facing, provide friendly and professional guidance, and signpost you towards specialist sources of additional help and information. Sometimes just discussing these issues with someone experienced in supporting those affected by a road crash can help you to make sense of the problems you are facing and to make decisions about how to move forward.
  • Advocacy and practical assistance when it all feels too much
    Sometimes it can feel just too difficult to approach officials or research sources of help when your world has been turned upside down by a road crash. You may be finding it hard to get answers, or just lacking the energy to make your voice heard due to bereavement or injury. Our helpline officers can assist by liaising with officials on your behalf, whether you are wanting answers from medical staff or a coroner; struggling to tell the bank what has happened; or need to find childcare so that you can attend a trial, we can try to help.
  • Contact with a specialist lawyer
    Families experiencing bereavement and injury following a road crash can find it helpful to seek legal support for a number of different reasons. It may be that you need help finding a will or dealing with probate issues, or there may be financial concerns, for example if someone who contributed to the household income has died or if you are unable to work due to injury or new responsibilities as a carer. There can also be many costs involved in the long-term care and rehabilitation of victims who have suffered a serious injury. Our helpline officers can provide information about seeking legal support and advice, and are able to discuss the best way to source an expert, specialist solicitor, who can talk to you, without obligation, about whether you might be able to claim for damages following a crash. Reputable, specialist solicitors will be able to advise you on whether this is possible or not for your case during a free, initial consultation. Our webpage on Finding appropriate legal support and advice provides further information.
Our support standards and providing feedback
You can read our support service standards, including for our helpline. You can also read comments about our work, and provide feedback. If you wish to make a complaint please read our complaints policy.

 

How we are funded 

MoJ LOGO Funded by UK Gov victim services 2017 18 MoJ grant agreement

The helpline's delivery in England and Wales is supported by a grant from the Ministry of Justice; kind support from the following specialist road crash personal injury solicitors: Slater and Gordon Solicitors, Lyons Davidson Solicitors and Irwin Mitchell Solicitors; and donations from the public and from the following PCC offices:

Bedfordshire PCC Cambridgeshire PCC Cumbria PCC
Derbyshire PCC Devon, Cornwall and The Isle of Scilly PCC Dorset PCC
Dyfed-Powys PCC Essex PCC Hampshire PCC
Kent PCC Northumbria PCC South Yorkshire PCC
Sussex PCC Staffordshire PCC Thames Valley PCC
Warwickshire PCC West Midlands PCC West Yorkshire PCC

The helpline's delivery in Scotland is funded by Digby Brown Solicitors. The helpline's delivery in Northern Ireland is funded by public and corporate donations to Brake. A grant from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office enables us to support people in the UK who have been affected by road death abroad.

If you want to help Brake’s important work
See our fundraising ideas or donate online. You can also read about two of the many bereaved families who have generously helped Brake by reading Katie's story and Jamie's story.

Brake helpline for road crash victims awarded prestigious Helplines Standard

Thursday 12 February 2015

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake’s support helpline for bereaved and injured victims left devastated by road crashes has been awarded the Helplines Standard, a nationally recognised mark of quality by Helplines Partnership.

The Standard was awarded following a rigorous assessment of the service. Brake joins a select and broad ranging group of helplines in the UK and Ireland to have achieved the standard, but is the only accredited helpline dedicated to supporting road crash victims and professionals working with them.

Brake’s professionally-delivered helpline (now on Freephone 0808 8000 401) and acclaimed support packs (provided via police following every UK road death) provide emotional comfort, information on wide-ranging practical matters and criminal justice system procedures, advocacy and signposting and referral to further specialist support such as trauma counselling and local group support. The services have been developed and refined in consultation with experts and practitioners over many years to ensure they meet the acute and wide-ranging needs of those whose lives are turned upside down by road death or injury.

Brake’s helpline is available across the UK and offers support and information to anyone bereaved or seriously injured by road crashes, their family and friends, and professionals working with them. Brake works closely with police forces and other practitioners to ensure its support is available and proactively offered to bereaved and seriously injured road crash victims.

Praising Brake’s support services, Helplines Partnership described the helpline as “extremely well organised” and its staff as “passionate”, “empathic”, “highly knowledgeable” and “expertly trained”.

With road casualties on the rise in the UK, Brake’s support services are more in demand than ever. The helpline saw a 42% increase in helpline calls and emails during 2014, up to 2,047, spurred by revised police guidance and the government’s new Victims’ Code, which says bereaved victims of road crime should be referred to specialist support. The helpline supports victims and practitioners in relation to about 500 cases of road death and serious injury each year, with cases up 18% last year.

Brake’s support services are supported by funding from the Ministry of Justice in England and Wales, the Scottish Government in Scotland, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and five corporate sponsors:Irwin Mitchell, Pannone (part of Slater & Gordon), Lyons Davidson, Slater & Gordon, and Digby Brown in Scotland.

Practitioners can refer to Brake’s helpline by: providing details to families and explaining what the helpline can offer; providing a victim’s details to the helpline, with their permission, for the helpline to call them at a suitable time; and/or contacting the helpline directly for advice. They can also refer to Brake’s support literature online.

Explore Brake’s support services at www.brake.org.uk/support. Brake'shelpline for bereaved and injured road crash victims can be reached on 0808 8000 401.Tweet us:@Brakecharity.

Sarah Fatica, director of support services, Brake, said:“To attain Helpline Partnership’s quality standard is a fantastic achievement for the Brake helpline and we are extremely proud to secure this on our first attempt. It is testament to the hard work and dedication of our support team when it comes to easing the terrible suffering of bereaved and injured road crash victims.

“Undergoing such a thorough assessment has helped us focus our efforts and ensure that road crash victims receive a thoroughly professional and quality service, providing expert support through people’s darkest hours. Tragically, there are many more people out there who need our help, and we aspire to develop our service further to meet this demand. Our aim is for every person who faces the horror of a road death or serious injury to know we’re here, we understand, and can help them cope with the horrendous circumstances they find themselves in.”

Sarah Hill, head of services, Helplines Partnership, said: “We are proud to congratulate Brake’s helpline for all their hard work in achieving this important quality mark, the Helplines Standard. Our assessment showed a highly organised and professional team with an incredible commitment to the support of road crash victims. I was particularly impressed at how the helpline workers were able to demonstrate delivering detailed information about complex situations in an empathic and sensitive way.”

Notes to editors:

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, a Fleet Safety Forum, practitioner services, and by coordinating the UK’s flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Helplines Standard

For more information about the Helpline Standard please visit: https://helplines.org/services/quality-standard/

Brake releases new version of acclaimed support pack for bereaved road crash victims

14 February 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

The charity Brake has released an updated version of its acclaimed support pack for families left devastated by a death on the road in England and Wales. With funding from the Ministry of Justice, the pack has been updated so it's in line with the government's new Victims' Code, which aims to ensure bereaved crime victims get the right support and are treated with respect by criminal justice agencies.

Brake is the national provider of government-funded support literature for families who lose a loved one our roads. Its support packs are handed to bereaved families by police following every UK road death (with separate packs available following road deaths in Scotland and Northern Ireland). Brake works with every police force throughout the year to ensure the packs are presented promptly and empathetically following all road deaths, as written into police protocols.

The 2013-14 packs are now being distributed to police forces throughout England and Wales.

An online version of the pack is available at www.brake.org.uk/support, and Brake's helpline (0845 603 8570) offers over-the-phone explanation of information in the packs alongside a range of other professionally-delivered support.

The revised Victims' Code, published in December 2013, recognises bereaved road crime victims as victims of serious crime with particular needs, who should be referred to appropriate support. The change has been welcomed by Brake, having long campaigned through its forgotten victims campaign for greater recognition and help from government for families who suffer the horror of a bereavement or serious injury in a crash.

Brake's support pack, 'Information and advice for bereaved families and friends following death on the road in England and Wales', is a comprehensive resource offering clear, objective information that supports people through one of the most traumatic times imaginable. It is regularly reviewed in consultation with experts, practitioners and victims' feedback.

Having has a loved one suddenly and violently killed, many people will not know where to turn. Brake's pack offers emotional comfort and practical information on matters such as arranging a funeral, the police investigation and criminal proceedings.

Louise Macrae, support service manager, said: "Brake's bereavement packs are a key part of the vital support we provide. For many, in an isolated, bewildering situation, being presented the pack is a signal that they are not alone, that someone cares, and that specialist support is available. It is often referred in feedback from families as a life-line they can turn to again and again. It is often essential in helping a family through horrendous pain and complex procedures, to find hope for the future and a 'new normal'.

"We recently welcomed improvements in the government's Victims' Code, which makes clear all bereaved crime victims have acute support needs and are entitled to appropriate support. We look forward to continuing to build on our excellent relationship with police to ensure all devastated crash victims get the help they need. We encourage FLOs and other support professionals to familiarise themselves with our updated packs, so they can aid families in accessing the specialist information and support available."

Robin Turner, family liaison officer, Cleveland Police Roads Policing Unit, said: "Brake's bereavement pack is invaluable to family liaison officers. Although we are trained to offer advice to families, we cannot be there 24/7. We have confidence that when a family has questions at 3:00am, Brake's literature gives them the guidance that's needed, when it's needed.

"As police officers, we are given guidelines that bereavement packs are issued and explained after every road death. I didn't realise how important this was until I spoke to families in such tragic circumstances. It is only then you appreciate how important the Brake packs are and how much they are relied on. It is not uncommon for the pack to become a permanent fixture on a bedside table. One family described it as 'their bible' after a road death."

Brake
Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 63 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (17-23 November 2014), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake's support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

 

Brake support standards

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Pack covers 2015 2016

Brake takes very seriously the requirement to meet the needs of people bereaved and seriously injured by road crashes, and to provide them with the best quality support we can. This page outlines our objective and aims, and the service standards we aim to meet.

To ensure our service standards are met, Brake maintains internal protocols relating to the aspects of service delivery outlined below, trains staff in these protocols, and monitors output to ensure these standards are complied with. Brake also works to maintain appropriate funding levels and pursues funding as far in advance as possible to enable delivery against these standards, although sometimes we are constrained by a lack, restriction or withdrawal of funds, or uncertainty about future funding. 

You can also read our helpline specification and who we help for more information about our helpline services.

If you have used our victim services, we welcome your feedback. You can provide feedback using our online form. You can view our complaints policy here.

You can also read our guide to government agency codes and standards, which may be relevant to you in the aftermath of a serious road crash. If you would like help understanding any of these, please contact the Brake helpline on 0808 8000 401 or helpline@brake.org.uk.

   Brake's victim services objective

Brake's victim services' objective is to help relieve the suffering and assist the recovery of people bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes to enable them to lead positive, healthy and happy lives into the future. We aim to do this through an effective set of services delivered to people who are often in extreme distress and have profound needs, and also delivered to those who come into contact with them and are able to provide additional support, such as police officers, nurses, and family members.

   Brake's victim services aims 

  1. To support victims’ emotional recovery in order to enable them to feel valued, comforted and safe during a time when they are highly vulnerable.
  2. To provide information to facilitate victims’ understanding of often unfamiliar and complex procedures resulting from a crash, and to aid informed choices.
  3. To problem solve and to help to resolve difficulties, by talking through options and by offering and providing as necessary, advocacy relating to practical and procedural difficulties victims are facing, in order to help reduce the stresses that such issues can place on victims at the worst possible time.
  4. To help victims to identify and acknowledge any medium to long term psychological or physical symptoms, including trauma symptoms, from which they or their loved ones may be suffering and help them to seek and access appropriate assessments and treatment from the NHS and other sources to alleviate these symptoms.
  5. To facilitate access, where appropriate and where possible, to agencies and services which are able to provide face to face or specialist support which complements the support provided by Brake’s helpline and to signpost victims to relevant services and experts, nationally and locally, to assist in their overall recovery, and to help support their practical and emotional needs.
  6. To provide support and information to people caring for, and professionals working with, bereaved or injured road crash victims.

Most people using Brake's victim services have a combination of needs relating to two or three of these areas. Different needs emerge in different ways and at different times. Services offered to meet these needs are:

  • Support over the phone or by email from a Brake helpline officer;
  • Information provision through Brake’s websites and support literature, for adults and children;
  • Information and problem solving over the phone or by email from a helpline officer;
  • Advocacy on procedural issues, through phone liaison and email/written correspondence between a helpline officer and external agencies on behalf of the victim;
  • Appropriate face to face support provided by local agencies, sourced by a Brake helpline officer;
  • Support over the phone from a Brake volunteer, who has been bereaved in a similar way and has made a good recovery, facilitated by a helpline officer;
  • Exploration, identification, assessment and treatment of on-going psychological and physical symptoms suffered by the victim due to the crash, through liaison between the victim, the helpline officer, the NHS and other agencies.

   Brake’s road crash victim support literature standards

Brake has been producing support literature for people bereaved and injured in road crashes and their carers, and supporting these people through our helpline and associated services, for many years to great acclaim. To deliver high quality, accessible services that are relevant, appropriate and useful for bereaved and injured crash victims, Brake adheres to the below standards.

Brake victim support literature: 

  1. is written in plain, simple, concise English, so it is as easy to understand as possible.
  2. is objective; Brake does not express subjective opinion through its victim support literature.
  3. provides information and advice, so that service users can make informed choices, rather than instructing and leading service users towards a particular course of action.
  4. is checked and updated regularly, in consultation with relevant experts, so the content is as accurate and up-to-date as possible, within the constraints of our funding.
  5. covers a comprehensive range of topics that are relevant to the type of service user at which it is aimed, while also being as concise as possible.
  6. is distributed as widely as possible to the type of service user it is aimed at, within the constraints of our funding, and made as accessible as possible to those who would benefit from it, including being available on our website.
  7. is available in alternative formats as much as possible, within the constraints of our funding. Most notably all information in Brake’s literature is available over the phone (via Brake's helpline). Some literature is available in different languages or in audio version, although this is subject to funding availability.
  8. is presented in a professional, high-quality format, which acknowledges the way the literature is used, to support accessibility and ease of use, including quality design and materials, and use of correct language.

   Brake's helpline standards

Brake operates a helpline contacted by hundreds of people every year who have been affected by a road death or serious injury, and professionals who work with and care for these victims.

Brake’s helpline officers:

  1. will respond to service users who leave an answerphone message or email helpline@brake.org.uk within one working day (Monday-Friday) of their message unless otherwise stated.
  2. will use careful listening and straightforward questioning to identify individual service users' needs, so the support provided can be tailored to these needs, while respecting a service user’s right to say as much or as little as they choose.
  3. will use plain English and the use of additional tools such as Brake’s road crash victim support literature to aid understanding of information being provided.
  4. will put the services user’s needs at the heart of their work, prioritising these needs at all times, in line with the aims of Brake’s support services.
  5. will explain clearly the services available and the limitations of those services, so service users understand what is and isn’t available.
  6. are paid professionals, experienced in helping people in distress and trained in the needs of victims of road death and injury. 
  7. work to strict confidentiality, data protection and safeguarding protocols. This requires Brake’s helpline to maintain the confidentiality of any service user unless a service user agrees to particular information sharing in order to enable advocacy on their behalf, or unless there are extreme concerns relating to their immediate safety or the safety of others. Copies of Brake's victim service policies on confidentiality, data protection and safeguarding can be obtained by emailing admin@brake.org.uk.

Brake's 'I've been there' service

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This service enables you to talk over the phone to another bereaved or injured person who is a Brake volunteer. The call will take place at an agreed time, and your details will remain confidential. The volunteer will not talk in detail about their own case, but they will be able to listen to you with a deep understanding of what you are going through, answer any questions you may have about how they coped with different aspects of their experience, and talk to you about how they found it possible to feel happiness again. Please note that this is not a befriender service, and it will not usually be possible to speak to a volunteer more than once.

Calls are facilitated and connected by your Brake helpline officer, and the bereaved or injured person you speak to will not know your full name nor be given your phone number. 

While you are talking to the Brake volunteer, a helpline officer will be listening in, aiming to ensure that the call is meeting your needs and if necessary helping to steer the conversation in a helpful direction (although generally they will be a silent partner in the call).

Brake helpline officers try to 'match' your circumstances to those of the Brake volunteer you speak to. So, for example, if you have suffered the death of a child, they will try to match you with another bereaved parent.

Calls generally last up to an hour, and you are welcome to end the call at any time you feel it is appropriate or if the conversation is not proving helpful to you.

To request this service, please call the helpline on 0808 8000 401 or email helpline@brake.org.uk.

Coping with emotions and feelings

Coping with how you feel emotionally

When someone is seriously injured in a road crash, it is traumatic for the person injured and their close family and friends. People react in many ways and it is natural and normal to experience strong feelings.

This section outlines some feelings you and your loved ones may experience and provides practical advice to help you cope. While physical injuries will be the over-riding concern, it is important to give feelings the attention they deserve too. Strong feelings can lead to serious medical conditions, such as depression. With good support, these conditions are less likely to develop, or can be identified early and appropriate care provided.

I can’t believe it has happened

It can be very hard to come to terms with the shock; the fact that the crash has really happened. Shock can be particularly hard to bear if the crash has resulted in life-changing injuries, shortened life, or if someone died in the crash. It may all seem unfair; ‘why has this happened?’ is a common thought.

It is common to mull over the circumstances leading up to the crash and wonder if you, or others, could have done anything to stop it happening. ‘If only…’ is a usual and particularly painful thought process.

What you can do
Seek immediate support from the people around you

Many people find it difficult to share their feelings with others. However, sharing feelings does help, particularly with close family and friends who may be experiencing similar feelings.

Sometimes, family and friends find it challenging to share thoughts with each other because they are trying to be “strong” for each other, or for other reasons to do with their relationships with each other. However, mutual support can be very helpful, and stop you feeling a sense of isolation.

If you can’t share your thoughts with someone close to you, or you find that this doesn’t help, seek help from someone who can provide a confidential, listening ear and comfort you. This could be a local counsellor, doctor, teacher, spiritual leader, or some other responsible member of your community who you know and trust.

Crying often helps when talking about what you are going through. It is usually better to express your feelings than try to hold back tears.

I have very strong feelings

Sometimes, feelings experienced may be strong, and at times over-powering and exhausting.

Anger is a common feeling. It is common to feel angry if someone is being held responsible for the crash. It is common to feel angry with society for not treating road safety seriously enough. This can be particularly hard to bare if you are not used to feeling angry.

It is also common to feel angry at other people who say things that you rightly consider inappropriate or who even behave as if nothing has happened. (This is usually because they are afraid they may say the wrong thing.) You may feel that “nobody understands”.

Anxiety is another common feeling. It is common to feel worried and suffer feelings of panic. You may worry about the safety of yourself or other loved ones, particularly on the road but also generally. You may be scared about what the future may hold

Stresses previously taken as being part of life can sometimes become unbearable. You may get upset at small things as well as the big things. You may feel tense or restless. You may also find you forget things and have difficulty concentrating.

Some people feel as though the future is bleak. They feel there can’t ever be a time when it will be possible to feel happiness again. Plans for the future may be wrecked.

Some days may feel much worse than others. Some people feel like they are on a rollercoaster of emotions.

What you can do
Understand these feelings are normal, keep talking, and take your time

An important way to cope with such strong feelings is to understand they are symptoms resulting from what has happened. It is not your fault that you are feeling this way, and it is normal in the circumstances. These feelings are not part of your character, and, if you take care of yourself and seek support, they can subside over time and be replaced by more positive feelings.

Treat yourself to simple comforts that are likely to make you feel a tiny bit better or calmer. This could be as simple as a cup of tea, listening to calm music, or sitting in the sun for ten minutes.

Some people find that being creative helps them to be calm. For example, writing, drawing or mounting photographs can be positive, peaceful activities. Find something small to look forward to, such as a visit from a friend.

It is easier to make mistakes at times of severe stress. Take extra time and care if you or a loved one is driving, cooking, or doing other potentially dangerous jobs. Try to avoid making big, difficult decisions. Treat yourself gently.

For some people, it is tempting to resort to alcohol or illegal drugs. However, these are stimulants that do not help, and have damaging consequences. Tranquilisers prescribed by a doctor may be helpful in the short term but some can become addictive and are not a long term solution.

It can help to explain to other people how you are feeling so they are not surprised if you display these feelings around them. If you work, it can help to talk to your employer and colleagues. If you are at school, it can help to explain things to your teacher and friends. Enable these people to give you the time and space you deserve.

There has been no justice

Some people affected by a road crash are unhappy with the punishment given to someone who was held to blame, or the outcome of a claim for compensation. It can also be hard to bear if there is no-one to blame, or if you, or a loved one, was in some way to blame.

You may have other on-going concerns that have direct impact on your emotional well-being, such as issues around appropriate housing for someone with life-changing injuries.

What you can do
Seek support from relevant organisations

Brake’s helpline can provide practical assistance if you feel you need help getting justice, or help liaising with a relevant authority.

My symptoms are extreme and not going away

Some people suffer extreme emotional symptoms and / or physical symptoms. This includes flashbacks, when you feel the crash is happening again, or extremely vivid and scary thoughts and dreams. Other people suffer suicidal feelings on a regular basis.

Physical symptoms resulting from emotional stress include problems eating, problems sleeping, or aches and pains not related to any injury. Some people develop problems such as a stutter, or suffer from shaking limbs, or develop a phobia, such as an inability to leave the house. Other people may struggle to get out of bed and do day-to-day tasks due to emotional upset.

Such symptoms usually fade away with support and care, but sometimes they don’t. If your symptoms are still extreme and have been continuing for more than a month, it is important to seek professional help.

What you can do
Seek professional help

Usually, appropriate treatment is regular sessions of confidential counselling, over many weeks, with an appropriately qualified counsellor who is experienced in helping people who have suffered a traumatic event. Often this counselling is referred to as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This kind of counselling is appropriate whether you are an adult or a child.

You may find that hospital staff or your GP offer you the chance to see a counsellor for free. It is, however, important to ensure they are offering you a service provided by a counsellor who is appropriately qualified and experienced, and also is available soon. It is not a good idea to delay getting this support, or to agree to support from someone who is not qualified or experienced in treating people who have suffered a major traumatic event.

The NHS often has waiting lists; but your needs are important, now. Ask your GP to ensure you are seen as soon as possible. If you think you need help seeking the right support, quickly, call the Brake helpline on 0808 8000 401. Brake can liaise, on your behalf, with medical practitioners to seek the support you need.

It is usually appropriate that, firstly, you have your symptoms identified and assessed. This may result in you being diagnosed as suffering from a condition such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or depression. NHS guidelines on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guideline no. 26) can be viewed at www.nice.org.uk.

Being diagnosed with a condition does not mean you are a weak person. Such conditions are normal following a traumatic event, and it is possible to treat these conditions successfully. This treatment is likely to include at least ten counselling sessions, and often more. Drug treatments can help some people but are not recommended by the NHS as preferable to talk-based therapy.

If you cannot obtain help quickly through the NHS, you may wish to consider paying for private treatment. Sometimes this is possible to fund as part of a claim for compensation.

Lists of providers of therapists who can assess your needs, some through the NHS, some privately, are available from the following organisations:

British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy

United Kingdom Psychological Trauma Society

If you are feeling suicidal, call The Samaritanson 0845 790 9090. The Samaritans is a counselling line, open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, for anyone in need. It is staffed by trained volunteers. You can also email jo@samaritans.org

Digby Brown and Brake

Digby Brown logo 12

Digby Brown has been a valued supporter of Brake for nine years, providing crucial funding and support for our services supporting people affected by road
crashes. Brake operates a helpline for anyone needing practical or emotional advice following a bereavement or serious injury on the roads, and we are able to support a growing number of people each year through the helpline.

Through our partnership, we have also been able to extend our support throughout Scotland, coordinating training for family liaison officers on how to support families bereaved on the roads.  

Digby Brown has also provided long term support to Brake’s flagship annual event, Road Safety Week, helping us to launch our national media campaign in Scotland. We have worked together to coordinate events in Scotland, aimed at engaging with local communities and national media.

Digby Brown has also supported Brake by providing a spokesperson for Brake’s activities in Scotland, Fraser Simpson, which has helped us to further extend our campaigns and activities in Scotland.

 

Government funding renewed as demand for Brake’s support services for devastated road crash victims rises

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

The Ministry of Justice has renewed its funding of Brake's support services for road crash victims until March 2016. The renewed funding recognises the vital importance of these services, which have experienced an increase in demand, particularly since reviewed police guidance in October spurred increased police referrals to Brake's helpline.

Brake provides UK-wide support to people bereaved and seriously injured by road crashes, with funding from the Ministry of Justice in England and Wales, Scottish Government in Scotland, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and five corporate sponsors. Brake works closely with police forces and other practitioners, aiming to ensure support is available and proactively offered to all bereaved and seriously injured road crash victims.

Brake's services include a professionally-delivered helpline (0845 603 8572) and acclaimed support packs, both of which provide emotional comfort, information on wide-ranging practical matters and criminal justice system procedures, and signposting to further specialist support. The services have been developed and refined in consultation with experts and practitioners over many years to ensure they meet the acute and wide-ranging needs of those whose lives are turned upside down by road death or injury.

Funding from the Ministry of Justice's Victim and Witness General Fund allows Brake to continue providing its helpline service and support packs for bereaved victims of road crime in England and Wales. Additional support from long-running helpline sponsors Irwin Mitchell, Pannone, Lyons Davidson, Fentons, plus Digby Brown in Scotland, means the services can be offered indiscriminately to all bereaved and injured road crash victims, regardless of whether or not a crime has taken place.

Brake's packs have been provided to bereaved families automatically by police following all road deaths for more than a decade. Revised police guidance published in 2013 (Road policing APP 3.1) recommends police should make families aware of Brake's helpline. The revised guidance and the government's new Victims' Code, which says bereaved victims of road crime should be referred to specialist support, have spurred a 10% increase in helpline calls in the first half of 2014, up to almost 900 over the six month period. The helpline supports victims and practitioners working with them, relating to about 370 cases of road death and 85 cases of serious injury each year.

Practitioners can refer to Brake's helpline by: providing details to families and explaining what the helpline can offer; providing a victim's details to the helpline, with their permission, for the helpline to call them at a suitable time; and/or contacting the helpline directly for advice on helping a family. They can also refer to Brake's support literature online.

Brake also recently welcomed an extension of funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to support UK nationals bereaved by a road crash abroad through its helpline. This funding allows the continuation for a further six months of a service helping families cope with the doubly overwhelming impact of a sudden and violent bereavement in a foreign country, with the additional complications this entails.

Louise Macrae, support service manager, said: "Brake's support services are invaluable to people who have suffered the trauma of a sudden and violent road crash bereavement or serious injury. These events can leave people in an isolated, bewildering situation, for which specialist, professional support is an essential lifeline for dealing with both emotions and practicalities. Our support packs and helpline, delivered in partnership with police and other practitioners, provide critical, complementary emotional support and practical information and assistance, to an increasing number of families. Thanks to ongoing government funding and our sponsors, we can continue to work with police and other partners to offer these essential specialist services to any bereaved or seriously injured road crash victim in need of comfort, help and guidance."

Explore Brake's support services at www.brake.org.uk/support. Brake's helpline for bereaved and injured road crash victims can be reached on 0845 603 8570. Tweet us: @Brakecharity.

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, a Fleet Safety Forum, practitioner services, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Note to Editors (from the Ministry of Justice)
The Government's response to the consultation 'Getting it Right for Victims & Witnesses' acknowledged that more can be done to support victims of road traffic crime who meet the criteria for prioritisation but believed that support for victims of road traffic crime would best be commissioned locally.

In addition to the funding to Brake to support families bereaved by road traffic crime the MoJ intends to engage Police and Crime Commissioners to look at what more can be done to help support victims of road crime including what should / can be done at national level.

My symptoms are extreme and not going away

Some people suffer extreme emotional symptoms and / or physical symptoms. This includes flashbacks, when you feel the crash is happening again, or extremely vivid and scary thoughts and dreams. Other people suffer suicidal feelings on a regular basis.

Physical symptoms resulting from emotional stress include problems eating, problems sleeping, or aches and pains not related to any injury. Some people develop problems such as a stutter, or suffer from shaking limbs, or develop a phobia, such as an inability to leave the house. Other people may struggle to get out of bed and do day-to-day tasks due to emotional upset.

Such symptoms usually fade away with support and care, but sometimes they don’t. If your symptoms are still extreme and have been continuing for more than a month, it is important to seek professional help.

What you can do

Seek professional help

Usually, appropriate treatment is regular sessions of confidential counselling, over many weeks, with an appropriately qualified counsellor who is experienced in helping people who have suffered a traumatic event. Often this counselling is referred to as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This kind of counselling is appropriate whether you are an adult or a child.

You may find that hospital staff or your GP offer you the chance to see a counsellor for free. It is, however, important to ensure they are offering you a service provided by a counsellor who is appropriately qualified and experienced, and also is available soon. It is not a good idea to delay getting this support, or to agree to support from someone who is not qualified or experienced in treating people who have suffered a major traumatic event.

The NHS often has waiting lists; but your needs are important, now. Ask your GP to ensure you are seen as soon as possible. If you think you need help seeking the right support, quickly, call the Brake helpline on 0808 8000 401. Brake can liaise, on your behalf, with medical practitioners to seek the support you need.

It is usually appropriate that, firstly, you have your symptoms identified and assessed. This may result in you being diagnosed as suffering from a condition such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or depression. NHS guidelines on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guideline no. 26) can be viewed at www.nice.org.uk.

Being diagnosed with a condition does not mean you are a weak person. Such conditions are normal following a traumatic event, and it is possible to treat these conditions successfully. This treatment is likely to include at least ten counselling sessions, and often more. Drug treatments can help some people but are not recommended by the NHS as preferable to talk-based therapy.

If you cannot obtain help quickly through the NHS, you may wish to consider paying for private treatment. Sometimes this is possible to fund as part of a claim for compensation.

Lists of providers of therapists who can assess your needs, some through the NHS, some privately, are available from the following organisations:

British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy

United Kingdom Psychological Trauma Society

If you are feeling suicidal, call The Samaritanson 116 123. The Samaritans is a counselling line, open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, for anyone in need. It is staffed by trained volunteers. You can also email jo@samaritans.org

Practitioners urged to refer injured road crash victims to Brake support guide as new edition released

Thursday 9 October 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, has released an updated version of its online support guide for people seriously injured in road crashes, thanks to sponsorship from Fentons Solicitors, part of Slater & Gordon. Brake is urging practitioners who work with injured road crash victims to make use of this resource and refer victims to the guide and Brake's helpline.

Brake's serious injury following a road crash guide was originally produced in 2003, for people whose injuries following a road crash make a significant impact on their daily life and their family. It aims to help them deal with the many issues that can emerge, and includes information on financial, practical and emotional help as well as criminal processes if the injury was caused by someone else's driving.

The new edition has been simplified and streamlined to make it more accessible for people going through such a distressing and confusing time. Topics covered in the guide include:

  • hospital treatment, rehabilitation and disabilities
  • claiming compensation
  • the crash and criminal prosecutions
  • coping with emotions and feelings
  • useful organisations.

The guide is available online, and is being signposted via police forces across the UK and the Brake helpline, which offers over-the-phone explanation of information in the guide alongside a range of other professionally-delivered support for seriously injured and bereaved road crash victims.

Brake is a long-running and well-respected provider of high-quality emotional support and practical information to road crash victims across the UK, through services part-funded by government and part-funded by corporate sponsors. Brake's bereavement packs are presented to bereaved families following every road death in the UK. Brake's helpline deals with about 450 cases of death and serious injury each year, supporting people bereaved through crashes across the UK and abroad, serious injury victims and their carers, and practitioners working with these victims.

Explore Brake's support services at www.brake.org.uk/support. Brake's helpline for bereaved and injured road crash victims can be reached on 0845 603 8570. Tweet us: @Brakecharity.

Louise Macrae, support service manager, Brake, the road safety charity, said: "The aftermath of a serious injury on the road is a bewildering time. Attempting to deal with legal proceedings and other practical and financial issues while receiving hospital treatment and coming to terms with potentially life-changing disabilities can be incredibly hard. That's why our serious injury guide is such a vital part of the support services Brake provides, pulling together all the crucial information people need at this difficult time in one place. We encourage FLOs, medical staff and other support professionals to familiarise themselves with the updated guide, so they can aid families in accessing the specialist information and support available."

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

There has been no justice

Some people affected by a road crash are unhappy with the punishment given to someone who was held to blame, or the outcome of a claim for compensation. It can also be hard to bear if there is no-one to blame, or if you, or a loved one, was in some way to blame.

You may have other on-going concerns that have direct impact on your emotional well-being, such as issues around appropriate housing for someone with life-changing injuries.

What you can do

Seek support from relevant organisations

Brake's helplinecan provide practical assistance if you feel you need help getting justice, or help liaising with a relevant authority.

Useful organisations

For additional local organisations call the Brake helpline or talk to your Family Liaison Officer or VIA.

Charities for road crash victims

Brake

Brake supports and helps people bereaved and injured by road crashes and campaigns for road safety. The charity’s national freephone helpline is a quality accredited service that provides emotional and practical support, information, and access to local face-to-face support services, legal help and people who have suffered a similar bereavement. Its helpline officers can also speak on your behalf to officials to ensure your voice is heard, and help you access services available to you. Brake coordinates Road Safety Week, and runs road safety education programmes in schools, communities and companies. The charity also encourages government to improve road safety legislation and enforcement. The charity provides many volunteering opportunities for bereaved families.

Helpline 0808 8000 401 (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm) or helpline@brake.org.uk
To donate, join, or volunteer visit www.brake.org.uk or call 01484 559909.

RoadPeace

RoadPeace supports families bereaved and injured in road crashes. RoadPeace provides practical support through post-crash information guides; emotional support through a helpline and befriender scheme (co-ordinated by staff with volunteers who have been affected by road death or injury); and a resilience building programme that helps participants develop coping skills to deal with symptoms of traumatic bereavement. RoadPeace provides advocacy assistance where possible. RoadPeace coordinates remembrance activities, including ‘Remember Me’ roadside plaques and a Remember Me internet memorial site (www.remembermememorials.org). Trees can be dedicated to loved ones at the RoadPeace Wood at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. RoadPeace supports road danger reduction and the promotion of transport policies which give greater consideration to vulnerable road users and the environment.

Helpline 0845 4500 355 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) or helpline@roadpeace.org

Office 020 7733 1603 or info@roadpeace.org

www.roadpeace.org and www.remembermememorials.org 

SCARD (Support and Care after Road Death and Injury) incorporating CADD (Campaign Against Drinking and Driving)

Two charities working together providing emotional and practical support to anyone bereaved, injured or affected by any type of road death or injury. SCARD offers a helpline staffed by experienced volunteers 365 days a year. Additionally it offers literature including on coroners and inquests, criminal and civil law, appeals and private prosecutions. It will also help you access counselling and free legal advice. SCARD offers road safety education workshops for schools and organisations. Its sister charity CADD campaigns for changes to the legal system to deter drink drivers and get justice for those affected by drink-drive incidents. It also delivers educational, awareness-building workshops to groups and individuals, including anti-drink-drive workshops.

Helpline 0845 123 5542 (7 days a week, 9am-9pm)

Office enquiries 01484 723649 or info@scard.org.uk
www.scard.org.uk
 

SCID (Scotland’s Campaign against Irresponsible Drivers)

SCID campaigns for tougher road traffic law and the rights of road crash victims. SCID offers ongoing phone and face-to-face emotional support and advice for bereaved families of fatal road crashes in Scotland to guide them through the civil and criminal justice systems. This support is provided by volunteers, subject to availability.
www.scid.org.uk

Other organisations that are concerned about death and injury on the road:

BUSK

Works to improve the safety of children and young people travelling by bus, coach, taxi and car. Offers support and guidance for parents about safety issues, legislation and the hiring of transport. Produces educational material for schools and co-ordinates School Transport Safety Week. Can put bereaved families in touch with other bereaved families.

Call 01633 274944 or email enquiries@busk-uk.co.uk
www.busk-uk.co.uk 

RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents)

RoSPA’s road safety department raises awareness about the causes of road crashes and promotes measures to help prevent them. This charity does not provide support services for road crash victims.

Call 0121 248 2000 or email help@rospa.com 

www.rospa.com

Organisations supporting people bereaved by any cause:

Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland

Call 0845 600 2227 or go to www.crusescotland.org.uk

For children and young people go to www.hopeagain.org.uk 

The Samaritans

The Samaritans operates a 24 hour helpline for anyone in need

Call 116 123 or go to www.samaritans.org 

If your partner has died:

WAY (Widowed and Young)

www.widowedandyoung.org.uk

If a child or a child’s relative has died: 

Child Bereavement UK

Call 0800 028 8840 or go to www.childbereavementuk.org

The Child Death Helpline

Call 0800 282 986 or 0808 800 6019 or go to www.childdeathhelpline.org.uk

The Compassionate Friends

Call 0345 123 2304 or go to www.tcf.org.uk

Care for the Family

Call 029 2081 0800 or go to www.careforthefamily.org.uk

Winston’s Wish

Call 08088 020 021 or go to www.winstonswish.org.uk 

Organisations campaigning for sustainable transport:

Campaign for Better Transport

Promotes sustainable and public transport.

www.bettertransport.org.uk 

Living Streets

Promotes safety and accessibility for pedestrians.

www.livingstreets.org.uk 

Sustrans

Develops paths for walkers and cyclists.

www.sustrans.org.uk 

Citizens Advice Scotland

If you need any other contacts your local Citizens Advice service may be able to help. It can provide access to free, impartial and confidential advice, including on financial and legal matters. For your nearest office, you can look in your phone book or contact Citizens Advice Scotland on 0808 800 9060 or visit www.cas.org.uk.

Government bodies with responsibility for criminal justice in Scotland:

The Scottish Government

In Scotland, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice is responsible for the Scottish Criminal Justice System, including matters concerning victims of crime, and for some aspects of traffic policing including administration of speed cameras and the Driver Improvement Scheme.

Call 0300 244 4000 or email ceu@gov.scot

www.gov.scot or www.mygov.scot 

Police Scotland

Has a road policing business area that has some responsibility for determining policing policy. Other policies are determined by the Chief Constable.

Call 101 or fill in the contact form on the Police Scotland website www.scotland.police.uk 

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS)

COPFS is responsible for the prosecution of crime in Scotland, the investigation of sudden or suspicious deaths and complaints against the police.

Call 01389 739 557 or email EnquiryPoint@copfs.gsi.gov.uk

www.copfs.gov.uk 

Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service is responsible for providing the staff, buildings and technology to support Scotland’s courts and tribunals, the work of the independent judiciary, the courts’ Rules Councils, the Office of the Public Guardian and the Accountant of the Court. In April 2010 it was established by the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008 as an independent body, governed by a corporate board and chaired by the Lord President, the most senior judge in Scotland.

Call 0131 444 3300 or email enquiries@scotcourts.gov.uk

www.scotcourts.gov.uk 

Scottish Prison Service

The Scottish Prison Service is an agency of the Scottish Government responsible for prisons.

Call 01387 261 218 or email gaolinfo@sps.pnn.gov.uk

www.sps.gov.uk 

Parole Board for Scotland

The Parole Board for Scotland makes decisions about early prisoner release.

Call 0131 244 8373

www.scottishparoleboard.gov.uk  

Scottish legal contacts listed elsewhere in this pack:

Criminal Justice System

Personal Injury Solicitors

Government bodies with responsibility for road safety in Scotland:

The Scottish Government Transport Directorate

The Minister for Transport and Islands is responsible for road safety policy in Scotland.

Call 0300 244 4000 or email ceu@gov.scot

Local highway engineers and road safety officers

Local authorities are responsible for improving road safety on local roads. They employ highways engineers, who are responsible for local speed limits, traffic calming, pedestrian crossings and other aspects of road design. Local road safety officers are responsible for local road safety education and publicity. They may be employed by local authorities or by police forces. For contact details, contact your local authority.

Transport Scotland

Transport Scotland is responsible for trunk road safety.

Call 0141 272 7100 or email info@transport.gov.scot

www.transport.gov.scot 

Road Safety Scotland

Road Safety Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government to produce road safety education resources and run road safety publicity campaigns in Scotland, working with local authorities and police. Call 0131 244 6133 or fill in the contact form on the Road Safety Scotland website.

http://www.roadsafetyscotland.org.uk/ 

Traffic Commissioner for Scotland

The traffic commissioner is an appointed official with responsibility for licensing companies to operate lorries, buses and coaches. The traffic commissioner has the power to issue and take away an operator’s licence.

Call 0300 123 9000.

UK-wide Government departments

The Home Office

The Home Office is responsible for reviewing UK charges and penalties for traffic offences (many of which, although not all, apply in Scotland).
 
Call 020 7035 4848 or email public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

www.gov.uk/homeoffice 

The Department for Transport

The Department for Transport is responsible for many areas of road safety policy, ranging from setting the drink drive limit to road safety TV campaigns. The Department for Transport also commissions research on road safety topics.

Call 0300 330 3000

www.gov.uk/dft 

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

The DVLA promotes road safety and general law enforcement by licensing and maintaining registers of drivers and vehicles, and collecting vehicle excise duty (tax).

http://www.gov.uk/dvla 

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

The DVSA sets standards for driving and ensures drivers, vehicle operators and MOT garages follow roadworthiness standards. It also provides a range of licensing, testing, education and enforcement services.

http://www.gov.uk/dvsa 

Your political representatives

Your local councillor

If you are worried about a particular local traffic problem your local councillor may be able to help. You can find out their contact details by phoning your local council.

Your Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP)

Your MSP’s job is to represent your interests in the Scottish Parliament. You may want to write to or meet him/her to discuss any aspect of your case which you think s/he could act upon. You can find out the name of your MSP by calling 0131 348 5000 or by going to www.parliament.scot and typing in your postcode.

You can write to your MSP at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh EH99 1SP.

Your Member of Parliament (MP)

Your MP's job is to represent your interests in Parliament. You may want to write to or meet them to discuss any aspect of your case which you think they could act upon.

You can find out the name of your MP by going to the website www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps or calling Parliament on 020 7219 4272. You can write to your MP at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

Acknowledgments

This book is written by Brake in partnership and open consultation with families bereaved by road crashes and representatives from a range of organisations including:

APIL (The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers)
Centre for Forensic & Legal Medicine, University of Dundee
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS)
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS)
Digby Brown Solicitors
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO)
Mark B. Shaw, Independent Funeral Director
Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS)
National Association of Funeral Directors
National Records of Scotland
The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF)
The Natural Death Centre
NHS Blood and Transplant
Parole Board for Scotland
Police Scotland
SACRO
SCID (Scotland’s Campaign against Irresponsible Drivers)
Scottish Children's Reporter Administration
Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
Scottish Donation and Transplant Group
The Scottish Government Health Department
The Scottish Government Justice Department
Scottish Justices Association
Scottish Prison Service
Scottish Sentencing Council
Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)
Thomas Cuthell & Sons, Funeral Directors
The University of Strathclyde
Transport Scotland
Victim Support Scotland

Click to go to the contents page.

Disclaimer: This guide is for information purposes only. While it outlines processes of law and procedure, it does not aim to fully describe all aspects of law and procedures, and laws and procedures may also change. Brake is committed to continuous improvement. Any comments on this guide's content are welcomed and can be sent in writing to our address or e-mail. Brake, PO Box 548, Huddersfield HD1 2XZ or e-mailed to brake@brake.org.uk. Helpline 0808 8000 401.

Victim helpline and information manager (interim – 12 months)

Introduction to our cause and work

In the UK, five people are bereaved by road crashes every day and ten times as many are seriously injured (including life-changing injuries such as brain or spinal injury). Being suddenly and violently bereaved or suffering a life-changing injury in a road crash is traumatic and devastating. A key part of Brake’s mission is to alleviate road crash victims’ suffering and enable recovery. Brake does this through government-funded, professional services that meet victims’ varied and complex needs. Our national, accredited UK helpline is staffed by paid professionals providing emotional support, information provision and also, crucially, complex advocacy on behalf of road crash victims, fighting for their rights (for example within the criminal justice system). This helpline is supported by a suite of acclaimed literature that police are required to hand out at the time of a road crash.

Summary of the role

Brake, the road safety charity, is seeking a Victim helpline and information manager to manage professional delivery of our vital road crash victim support helpline and information provision for bereaved and injured families. This job is central to the work of the charity and is highly challenging and rewarding. Through management and development of this flagship support service, you will be supporting people suffering sudden, horrifying and violent bereavement or life-changing injuries, devastating people’s lives. Our dedicated team of helpline officers, and our printed and online support guides, provide emotional support, practical advice and advocacy to enable road crash victims to have the best chance of recovering emotionally, gain the information and help they deserve at such a traumatic and confusing time, and go on to lead a happy life.

You will be managing highly-trained helpline officers working in a confidential environment with people in extreme distress, who are facing bewildering practical procedures and concerns. As well as providing emotional support, our helpline officers have to understand and research complex issues that often result in negotiation with external agencies on behalf of victims.

Your main responsibilities will include:

  • Providing line management and inspiring leadership to an experienced team of four helpline officers and a support worker delivering our victim support helpline, helping them to work through their most challenging cases, monitoring their work output and standards, and providing appropriate management support and identifying development needs.
  • Closely monitoring helpline performance and service user feedback, and staying abreast of best practice in the field, working with Brake’s senior management team to ensure continuous improvement
  • Working alongside Brake’s senior management to plan and evaluate our helpline and information provision services and outcomes goals, and investigate/test potential additional services to advance our ability to help road crash victims.
  • Working alongside Brake’s senior management to help us to inform government and other practitioners/funders about the needs of victims, through preparation of grant bids and attendance at policy and funding meetings.
  • Protecting the charity and road crash victims through compliance with regulatory requirements and industry best practice that manages risks and ensures high standards with regard to victim services.

The successful candidate will be provided with full support, including external training, standard operating procedures, line management and occupational health debriefs, and the opportunity to attend Brake’s popular conferences and seminars on sudden death led by prestigious academics and practitioners in the field.

Person specification

You will be an experienced, senior professional with a track record of achievement. You will:

  • Have significant experience in a management position of a customer-oriented service, preferably working with vulnerable people, that demonstrates first-rate supervisory skills within a confidential environment involving complex problem solving and compulsory standard operating procedures.
  • Have experience in at least one demanding customer-oriented profession that honed your people skills to a high degree. (Helpline experience is not essential.)
  • Have a track record of research-based high-level problem solving on your own and in a team.
  • Have excellent communication skills (written and oral).
  • Have a confident, efficient and professional manner, enabling others to trust and follow your lead.
  • Be self-sufficient; happy to be judged on your own achievements and make executive decisions and supervise others, and to report directly to senior management.
  • Have aptitude and experience of using / developing monitoring and quality control systems, notably spreadsheets/CRM, standard operating procedures.
  • Have knowledge or experience of implementing safeguarding procedures.
  • Are experienced in evaluation and report writing, and analysing results for improvement possibilities.
  • Be highly numerate, with experience in managing budgets.
  • Have a track record of building and maintaining external professional relationships to professionally represent an organisation and achieve partnerships / funding.
  • Have a thirst for knowledge about the needs of our victim group and a desire to help them.
  • Be caring; able to respond with ‘emotional intelligence’ with a high degree of empathy/sensitivity.
  • Be able to work in a confidential environment.
  • Have a research-based degree at 2:1 or higher in an academic subject area.
  • If you drive, have a clean driving licence. The job does not require you to drive, but internal policies mean we cannot employ people with current endorsements or a history of serious traffic offences.
  • Believe in and practice the ethics of Brake, in particular slow and safe driving and avoidance of driving whenever possible for safety and environmental reasons (the Brake head office is near a train station and bus routes).
  • Be comfortable assisting people of any faith or no faith and any race, gender or sexual orientation.
  • Be a diligent hard worker and prepared to take on other responsibilities for the good of the charity.

To apply

  • Email Helen Hargrave on hhargrave@brake.org.uk with the subject header ‘Victim helpline and information manager’ with your CV and a 500 word covering letter explaining why you are the right applicant for this job.
  • Please ensure your CV and letter are saved as Word documents and include your full name in their titles.

Salary:

£35,000 - £39,000 dependent on experience plus 5% pension contribution

Deadline for applications:

Friday 27th October

Interview dates:

  • First interview – Wednesday 8th November
  • Second interview – Monday 13th November

Resources

Who we help

Brake's helpline is for people living in the UK who have been bereaved or who have suffered a serious injury in a road crash. This includes boyfriends and girlfriends of people who have died and close friends too. If a road death has happened abroad Brake can also provide support to family and friends living in the UK. Our objective is to provide you with emotional support services, information and advocacy to help you to recover and deal with the many procedures that follow death or serious injury on the road.

Our helpline is also available to anyone who cares for people bereaved or injured in a road crash. This includes, for example, family members, carers, police family liaison officers, emergency service workers, counsellors, and teachers. We can help you to provide the best possible help to road crash victims, and also support you if you were involved in the immediate aftermath of a fatal or serious crash and feel traumatised as a result.

Our helpline is not available to people who caused or witnessed a fatal or serious injury crash, unless the casualties were family or close friends.

Helpline officers have specialist skills, training and experience to support those aged 16 and over. Staff also receive training in child bereavement and can support families with younger children by providing information and signposting, and by liaising with specialist child bereavement support services to try to facilitate access to the most appropriate support.

For further information about our services for people suddenly bereaved in other ways (i.e. not via a road crash) please visit www.suddendeath.org.

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