The helpline is for anyone who has been bereaved or seriously injured in a crash or their carers, whether the crash happened recently or a long time ago. It is also for professionals, such as police officers or health workers, who need information about how to help people affected by a crash. For more information on who we can help, click here.
Our helpline officers are paid professionals, experienced in supporting people who have suffered a dreadful experience.
They can help in four key ways:
1. Emotional support
Our helpline officers are here to listen and to give you support in your darkest hour and advice on how to cope, however you are feeling, as often as you like, when you need it, within our opening hours.
If you have been bereaved recently, our helpline officers can also, if you wish, try to locate an emotional support worker from within your community who can visit you in your home (subject to availability) to provide you with general support at this terrible time. This support worker will not work for Brake; they may be a local nurse, trauma specialist or bereavement worker or some other carer with experience in supporting people suddenly bereaved. For more information on this service click here.
Sometimes, people bereaved in road crashes want to talk to someone who has been through a similar experience. Our "I've been there" service tries to arrange a phone call between you and a Brake volunteer who has been bereaved in a similar way in the past and has found a way forward with their life. For more information click here.
As well as contacting our helpline for emotional support, you can also read our book Coping with Grief online here, or call the helpline for a free copy.
2. Information and advocacy
Our helpline officers are here to provide information relating to criminal justice and other related procedures and practical issues as described in Brake's support literature. We can also help by liaising with officials on your behalf, if you are finding it difficult to get answers to your questions, or just don't have the energy to speak on your own behalf. Whatever your problem, whether it is wanting answers from a coroner, or arranging child care, we can try to help.
3. A lawyer for you
Our helpline officers have access to highly qualified and experienced personal injury solicitors who can advise on whether a claim for compensation can be made in your case. Sometimes, very significant amounts of money can be claimed. Advice on whether this is possible or not in your case can be provided by one of our experts for free.
4. Counselling and support groups
After one or two months, it is normal for many road crash victims to continue to suffer ongoing serious traumatic stress symptoms that can make getting on with normal life very challenging. If you are suffering in this way it is important to get assessment of your symptoms by an expert, and appropriate treatment from an expert, which is often a course of talk-based therapy. Our helpline officers can help you to seek this assessment and treatment through the NHS and elsewhere. Our helpline officers can also put you in touch with a wide range of national and local support organisations that support different people with different needs, for example, bereaved children, bereaved widows, and people bereaved by particular kinds of road crashes.
Our support standards and providing feedback
Read our support standards, including the standards we work to when operating the helpline. You can also read comments about our support work, and provide feedback yourself. Very rarely, we receive formal complaints. If you wish to make a formal complaint please read our complaints policy.
Funding for the helpline and help us to do more
The helpline's delivery in England and Wales is funded by kind support from the following specialist road crash personal injury solicitors: Fentons Solicitors LLP, Lyons Davidson Solicitors, Irwin Mitchell Solicitors and Pannone LLP, and a grant from the Ministry of Justice. 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 donation to Brake.
If you want to give back to Brake and help us to fund the helpline and help more people, click the fundraising button at the top of this site. You can also read about two of the many bereaved families who have already generously helped Brake by reading Katie's story and Jamie's story.