If you are a victim or a witness of terrorism in the London area, the London Victim and Witness Service can support you. You can get in touch over the phone, or online via our live chat service - 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Call our Supportline - 0808 168 9291
People can be affected by terrorism in many ways. You don't have to have been physically injured, or know someone who has, to be affected by the terrorism attacks that happen across the world.
Terrorist attacks are sudden, unpredictable and generally calculated to create a climate of fear or terror among the public. It's defined as an action that is used or threatened 'to influence the government or an international governmental organisation or to intimidate the public' and 'made for the purposes of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause', as set out under the UK terrorism Act 2000.
The London Victim and Witness Service is set up to provide much needed support, information and advice to help cope with the aftermath of incidents in London.
The support we provide can be accessed in the immediate hours after an incident via our Supportline (0808 168 9291) and live chat service and we can refer people affected onto longer term support via their local victim service and through partnership networks.
We can help you in many ways, including:
We recognise that it's not just victims who've been physically injured who can suffer significant psychological consequences, but also those who witness a terrorist attack.
Witnesses to terrorism are entitled to the same level of support from the London Victim and Witness Service as those who were directly injured.
Where families have been bereaved through terrorism, Victim Support run the National Homicide Service and can provide ongoing support with the aftermath of losing a loved one to terrorism.
The London Victim and Witness Service is set up to respond to the many impacts of terrorism, some of which can be life-changing. These can include:
If a family member or a friend is caught up in an incident of terrorism, it's important to listen if they want to talk about their experience. Provide them with reassurance that what they are experiencing is a normal reaction to an abnormal experience.
Sometimes, victims and witnesses don't want to talk to those close to them. There are services available which those affected can access confidentially, such as Victim Support's 24/7 Supportline. It's important to let victims or witnesses of terrorism make their own decision about whether they want to access support and when they might want to do this.
Other specialised services which can help after terrorism
The Samaritans is a charity dedicated to reducing feelings of isolation and disconnection that can lead to suicide.
Find out more - samaritans.org
Cruse Bereavement Care work to provide free care and bereavement counselling to people suffering from grief.
Find out more - cruse.org.uk
Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation is a charity that works nationally and internationally for peace and non-violent conflict resolution.
Find out more - peace-foundation.org.uk
The London Victim and Witness Service will provide support to people affected by terrorism to help them copy and recover from the incident. Sometimes this recovery involves adjusting to a new 'normal'. We know it can take many months and even years to fully recover from your experience.
The first anniversary of the incident can be particularly difficult and you may need additional support during this time or to re-engage with support. There is no time limit on the support we provide and when we can provide it to you.
When a serious crime or a major incident happens, there is often a lot of interest from the media. This includes TV, radio, newspaper and magazine journalists. They will be interested in the details of the incident, but they will also want to report on the reactions and feelings of people involved. Journalists may telephone victims, family members and friends, knock on the door, or wait to approach them as they leave the house or Humanitarian Assistance Centre. The media can be difficult and sometimes impossible to avoid.
If the police family liaison officer (FLO) is assigned to the victim or family, they should be the first point of contact for the victims or bereaved relatives for advice on handling the media. They will make sure that any photographs or interviews given to the media do not prejudice any criminal or inquest proceedings.