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's helpline 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/