The families of people killed or seriously injured on Warwickshire’s roads will be given high quality support from Brake, the road safety charity, as part of a new service commissioned by the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Seccombe.
An initial three-year contract has been awarded to Brake to provide an Independent Road Victim Advisor (IRVA), who will provide specialist support to anyone bereaved or seriously injured in a road crash. It is thought to be the first time such a service has been directly commissioned by a Police and Crime Commissioner in England and Wales.
Previously, the IRVA service in Warwickshire had been supported through the Commissioner’s annual grants programme, however the new arrangement means that the support offered to victims and their families can now be expanded under a longer-term commitment from October 2023 onwards.
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. The National Road Victim Service, delivered by Brake, provides this though a free, specialist, case-managed service for anyone bereaved or seriously injured in a road crash throughout the UK. The new contract will cement the role of an Independent Road Victim Advocate for the county of Warwickshire, ensuring that it has dedicated provision for all who need it.
The long-term funding commitment from Warwickshire’s PCC is an important recognition of the plight of road victims and their need for support.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “It’s a sad fact that during 2022 there were 19 fatalities on Warwickshire’s roads and another 236 people suffered serious and sometimes life-altering injuries. While there is a huge amount of ongoing work to significantly reduce these figures, it remains the case that many families and individuals across the county are left with a devastating loss or a significant change to daily life following a road traffic collision. That soon ripples out across the whole community.
“I’ve been determined for some time to ensure that the emotional and practical support that is in place to help people cope and recover in the aftermath of a collision is of the highest possible quality. In awarding this contract to Brake, I want to put that provision on a very firm footing and build upon the success we have already achieved through the introduction of a dedicated Independent Road Victim Advisor for Warwickshire. I’m delighted to see the expanded provision come into force in October.”
The Brake IRVA works closely with Warwickshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit and the team of Family Liaison Officers (FLOs) who deal with the immediate aftermath of a fatality or serious injury. Inspector Michael Huntley who leads unit says: “I’m delighted our Family Liaison Officers will be able to continue working alongside Brake’s IRVA to enhance the support available to those immediately affected by a fatal or serious road traffic collision in Warwickshire.
“Our FLOs provide great support but by referring people to the Brake IRVA we know that families will receive the confidential emotional and practical support they need to help them negotiate the many practical challenges ahead, as well as helping them through the legal process.”
Ross Moorlock, interim CEO of Brake, said: “We are proud to have been awarded this significant contract in Warwickshire, the first of its kind in England and Wales. It is imperative that anyone who has been bereaved or catastrophically injured in a crash can access trauma-informed support to meet their needs, which differ in every case. We have a long history at Brake of providing emotional and practical support to those who are thrown into such life-changing events. We look forward to working with Mr Seccombe’s office and Warwickshire Police over the next three years.”