John Hughes-Jones from North Wales, who takes up the role of IRVA, will be employed by Brake, the road safety charity. His role is funded by the PCC’s office, which provides additional funding for a telephone service run by Brake that is offered to all road victims in England and Wales.
Brake’s National Road Victim Service is the only specialist, clinically and trauma-informed, end-to-end, in-person caseworker service supporting road victims from every police force in the UK. Its objective is to care for road victims when the worst happens, helping them cope and recover, working towards wellbeing.
Road victims face many complex practical procedures after a crash, such as identifying a loved one’s body, attending a criminal or inquest hearing, getting a loved one's property and clothing returned, understanding how a collision happened, and providing a Victim Impact Statement in court. Brake’s National Road Victim Service provides tailored support to meet their individual needs, and puts road victims front and centre. The IRVA will provide face-to-face support via an improved referral pathway from North Wales Police Family liaison officers (FLOs), who have first contact with road victims.
The IRVA can assist with:
- Emotional support
- Practical support
- Understanding procedures, such as criminal prosecutions or court cases
- Seeking and using lawyers
- Family support, for example with children or the elderly
- Injury rehabilitation.
North Wales Police has also released figures from its latest anti-drink- and drug-driving campaign. As of 20 December, there had been 55 drug-drive arrests and 42 drink-drive arrests across the region. The campaign seeks to highlight the potentially devastating effects of driving under the influence and stop those who put lives at risk by driving after having a drink or taking drugs.
Andy Dunbobbin, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, commented: “I am proud that we have been able to fund an Independent Road Victim Advocate for North Wales. I am confident that John will be able to offer much-needed support and guidance to bereaved families and seriously injured people at the most vulnerable and distressing moments of their lives.
“As PCC I have included improving road safety as a key part of my plan for policing and crime in North Wales – the first Commissioner to do so in the region. Our ultimate aim is to prevent tragedies before they happen, through education, safety measures, and policing, but this new role stands as a marker of how much importance we place on supporting victims, and in enabling them to come to terms with what has happened to them.”
Jami Blythe, head of development at Brake, the road safety charity, said: “We are proud to be working with North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner’s office to ensure more road victims are provided with the support they need following a sudden loss in a road crash. It is imperative that anyone bereaved as a result of a road collision can access in-person, trauma-informed support delivered by a specialist caseworker here at Brake’s National Road Victim Service. We are pleased that Mr Dunbobbin has recognised this need for his communities.”
Inspector Iwan Roberts from North Wales Police Roads Crime Unit said: “Every death or serious injury on our roads has a significant and long-term impact on the local community, so it is vital that those directly affected receive long-term, specialist support. Sadly, between January and October this year, there have been 23 fatalities and 236 serious injury casualties on the roads of North Wales. Whilst there is a huge amount of work underway to significantly reduce these statistics, it remains that many families and individuals are left with a devastating loss or life-changing injury following a road traffic collision.
“Our dedicated Family Liaison Officers already provide great support to families and loved ones, and I am delighted they will be able to work alongside Brake’s IRVA to enhance the support that is available to help them.”