Nearly 190 people representing the police, emergency services, charities that support injured road victims or bereaved adults or children, trauma counsellors and therapists, gathered at the After the Crash conference in Manchester to share knowledge and agree the next steps to ensure that people affected injured by road crashes receive the expert support they need.

The day began with two strong keynote speakers – Commander Kyle Gordon, National Police Chief’s Council lead for National Roads Policing Operations, Intelligence and Investigations, and the National Family Liaison Advisor. Commander Gordon began by stating that five people die on UK roads every day, reinforcing the message that road safety must be treated as seriously as murder and terrorism.

Ross Moorlock, interim CEO at Brake, said: “Support for adults and children who have been bereaved or suffered catastrophic injury in a crash is an essential humanitarian response. It’s vital that decisions about road victim care are based on sound evidence, to ensure that support provided meets the needs of families facing shock and devastation, safeguards vulnerable victims and achieves wellbeing goals.

“Events like this are vitally important because it allows us to demonstrate how partnership working can achieve excellence in post-crash care, while also showing the positive impact it has on families’ lives when care is delivered well.”

Support for adults and children who have been bereaved or suffered catastrophic injury in a crash is an essential humanitarian response.

Ross Moorlock, interim CEO, Brake

Perhaps the most powerful event at the conference came when bereaved road victims Meera Naran MBE and Sharron Huddleston talked about their children Dev and Caitlin who were tragically killed in road crashes. They gave a first-hand account of their experience in the immediate aftermath and the support they received. Each had unique needs and very different experiences.

This section was chaired by Tracey Lister, head of Brake's National Road Victim Service, which supports hundreds of families every year who have been bereaved or seriously injured in road crashes. Other members of the service shared case studies throughout the day to give an insight into how Brake helps and supports people who are referred into the National Road Victim Service, and why the service is so important to those who rely on it.

Chris Lewis, from the Office of the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner, chaired a lively panel session where experts answered questions posed by the audience, from strategic, operational, academic and support perspectives.

Other speakers included Gary Dawson, from Spinal Injuries Association, who spoke about the need for support networks built on lived experience; Zoe Billings, Adapt and Evolve Consultancy, on developing psychological safety within response teams so that issues are shared and resolved openly; and David Trickey, UK Trauma Council, on how to support children and young people following exposure to a traumatic event.

Delegates were also able to visit the array of exhibitors that included Adapt and Evolve Consultancy, Aftermath, Air Ambulances UK, Brake, Day One Trauma Support, Dräger, Emergency Services Show, Headway, Hugh James, Limbless Association, Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, RoadPeace, and the Spinal Injuries Association, as well as the five organisations that sponsored the conference: Alderstone Solicitors, Slater and Gordon, Horwich Cohen Coghlan, Hodge Jones and Allen, and Bolt Burdon Kemp.

Further information about Brake’s National Road Victim Service can be found here.