In keeping with her Police and Crime Plan priority to tackle road safety, the Commissioner has appointed a dedicated, locally based Independent Road Victim Advocate (IRVA) to provide trauma-informed support to people who have suffered serious injuries in a road collision or the bereaved relatives of those who have been killed on the region’s roads.
Brake’s National Road Victim Service already provides a free service for anyone who has been bereaved or seriously injured in a road crash, or anyone who is supporting a road victim.
The new enhanced package introduced by the Commissioner in Derbyshire will ensure practical and emotional support is delivered face-to-face and will improve the quality of services local victims receive.
By providing in-person support at a local level, the IRVA will be able to assess first-hand how someone is coping after a crash and identify more easily any hidden needs that may not be recognised by the victim.
The IRVA will also be better placed to support victims throughout their journey, helping them navigate the many different and unique challenges they will face, while also reducing the risk of re-traumatisation. They will work closely with other organisations to signpost victims to any additional support they may need.
Commenting on the new service, Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “The emotional pain and distress that follows a road death or serious injury collision is difficult to imagine. Such tragedies are sudden and unexpected and have far-reaching effects on individuals and their families.
“I want to make sure that victims of road traffic collisions receive the best support available. The funding of a dedicated advocate in Derbyshire will ensure victims and their families receive high-quality, face-to-face support when they need it.
“Road safety is important to everyone living and working in Derbyshire. Too many people are still injured or killed on our roads and this must change. This is why, alongside enhanced support for victims, I continue to invest in robust enforcement and education to ensure drivers meet their responsibilities and help prevent further loss of life or serious injuries.”
Brake’s National Road Victim Service provides support through paid, professional caseworkers who have a broad range of experience and expertise in a number of areas, including clinical care, mental health, housing, collision investigation and the judicial process.
As part of the Victim Support and Safeguarding priority of her Police and Crime Plan, the Commissioner has pledged to commission appropriate, high-quality services to support the recovery of all victims of crime.
The IRVA will work closely with the Roads Policing Unit and in particular with Family Liaison Officers (FLOs) to support the families of those who are killed in a road traffic collision.
Jami Blythe, head of development at Brake, road safety charity, said: “We are pleased that the Commissioner recognises this need for her communities. When road crashes occur, they are devastating and when families can’t access services, or can only access unsuitable services, they are at risk of long-term, unfavourable outcomes. We are proud to be working with Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s office to ensure families receive the very highest level of support, provided by a specialist IRVA.”
The new service will help victims to rebuild emotional and physical wellbeing and regain control over their everyday lives. It will help people to adapt to a ‘new normal’ and work towards building strength to cope and recover from their experiences.