Families in Warwickshire who have suffered a bereavement or serious injury due to a collision on the roads are now receiving increased support, thanks to a new pilot project.
Supported by Warwickshire’s police and crime commissioner’s Road Safety Fund, the project involves Brake and Warwickshire Police teaming up to provide the county with a dedicated Independent Road Victim Advocate (IRVA).
It is the job of the IRVA to deliver expert, one-to-one support to people living within Warwickshire who have been seriously affected by a road collision.
People can be referred to the IRVA by a family liaison officer from Warwickshire Police, who will give them an information pack produced by Brake about the wide range of support available. They can also self-refer via Brake’s National Road Victim Service helpline 0808 8000 401.
The IRVA’s role is not to investigate the collision or collate information, but to work in partnership with the family liaison officer to provide the ‘wrap-around’ emotional and practical support required to look after the individual’s wellbeing.
As well as offering a safe environment to discuss how injured victims or their families are feeling, and looking at ways to access help and support in a confidential manner either in person or on the phone, the IRVA’s remit is to help people cope better with emotional and physical symptoms.
Gary Harker, the new IRVA for Warwickshire, said: “My role is to pilot a project aimed at endorsing how important, and effective, local support is for road crash victims.
“If the pilot is proved to be a success, we hope to roll it out countrywide. I’m proud to be part of this pilot in Warwickshire, which is leading the way in providing support to road crash victims.”
Philip Seccombe, Warwickshire police and crime commissioner, said: “While there has been good progress in road safety in Warwickshire, incidents on our roads are still the leading cause of death and serious injury that the police deal with. For every victim in Warwickshire many more people will be affected, including friends, family and loved ones.
“I’m therefore pleased to be working with Brake to offer this pilot in Warwickshire, which is helping ensure bereaved families understand and receive the support that is available to them as they negotiate the extremely traumatic period following losing someone in a collision.
“The project has been very well received by all those it has worked with so far and it’s great to be able to lead the way nationally. My office will be working with Brake to evaluate this pilot over the coming months to see how we can move towards a permanent solution in future.”