UK activists call for support program for victims of terrorism | Counter-Terrorism Policy

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A group of people who have survived or been bereaved by terror attacks are due to meet the Home Secretary on Tuesday to request a state-funded support package.

Brendan Cox, widower of slain MP Jo Cox and co-founder of the Survivors Against Terrorism (SAT), will tell Priti Patel that giving minimum guarantees of support to victims of terrorism should be a key part of the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy.

Speaking to the Guardian ahead of the meeting, he said: “Part of our way of saying ‘fuck you’ to terrorists is to show that survivors will not be left to simmer, but will be properly supported by the state. .”

He added: “Every time a terrorist attack happens, ministers stand up and talk about how we are going to take care of the survivors, but in reality it is not happening.”

The SAT will present Patel with a proposed Terrorism Survivors Charter that guarantees them immediate financial support, rapid access to psychological support and a compensation fund. The eight-point charter also includes guaranteed legal support and a national memorial day for survivors of terrorism.

It was written in consultation with the SAT’s network of 300 people caught up in terrorist incidents, including the Manchester Arena bombing, the Fishmonger’s Hall stabbings and the London Bridge attack.

Cox said it was essential that support be coordinated through a state-backed center or survivor agency.

He said: “It shouldn’t be left to the charity lottery. The change we are asking for is one where there are minimal legal rights. This needs to happen quickly, because we don’t want another generation of survivors to go through what survivors of the Manchester or London Bridge attack went through, which was simply inadequate.

He added: “There have been survivors who considered suicide and survivors who ended up self-harming because of this lack of support.”

Cox said the state systems for survivors of terrorism in France and Belgium are currently “putting shame” on the UK. He said: “In the UK, survivors of terrorism are treated as the victims of a traffic accident, but in France, Belgium and some other countries, attacks on civilians are treated as attacks by power of attorney against the state and therefore the state has a duty to watch over. their.”

He pointed out that French citizens injured in the London Bridge bombing chose to use the French government’s system because it is “more efficient and more generous”.

Following the attack on Fishmonger’s Hall in November 2019, and days before the last election, Boris Johnson has promised to consult on a survivors’ charter.

Cox said the SAT is determined to hold the government to this commitment. “Committing to a consultation is not the same as committing to organizing one, so we will continue to campaign until we see the details,” he said.

He said the proposed support center would absorb the Home Office’s Victims of Terrorism Unit. “We need some sort of champion for survivors and victims, as opposed to something that sits in government and does what it’s told,” Cox said.

In a statement, the Home Office said: “We will continue to work closely with Survivors Against Terror to ensure that the Survivors Charter informs our review of the broader support program available to victims of terrorism and any further recommendations of this examination.

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