British survivors of terrorist attacks have set up a new group to lobby the government over its counter-extremist policies and to ensure that victims get better support.
The group’s founding members include the husband of British MP Jo Cox, who was killed by a right-wing extremist in June 2016, and people affected by attacks carried out by Islamist and Irish terrorists.
The group – Survivors Against Terror – said that it will provide strong support for police and security services and campaign for better integrated communities in the UK. It will also peak out against hate speech from “extremist preachers to neo-Nazis”.
Britain suffered from five terrorist attacks in 2017 that left 36 people dead. An existing group, the Survivors’ Assistance Network, said that it was helping 600 people affected by the attacks, including many who were grappling with the psychological impact of the attacks.
It said that parts of the social care and health systems in the UK did not recognise the unique needs of those affected by terrorism.
“As a group of survivors and family members we have had mixed experiences of support from the government and other service providers,” the founders said in a statement on the group’s website.
“In some cases this has been exemplary, in other cases families and survivors have been left with no support at all.”
The group's founders include Travis Frain who was struck by a car driven by a terrorist outside the UK's parliament in March 2017. He told The National this month how survivors felt neglected by government, health agencies and police in the aftermath of the attacks.
“People who have been through these experiences have something to contribute to future discussions and on policy in this area,” Mr Frain said on Monday before talking to students in Manchester about his experiences.
The group’s founders also include those affected by terrorist attacks outside of the UK, such as Mike Haines, whose brother David was murdered by ISIL in 2014 after travelling to Syria on a humanitarian mission.
Jason McCue, a British lawyer who has acted on behalf of victims of Hamas and Irish terrorist attacks, said that the UK was one of the worst governments at ensuring the welfare of victims of terrorism.
“I welcome another strong voice that can amplify a simple collective message to all governments ...that terror victims deserve more than just platitudes and sympathy," he said.
“They need to be given the opportunity to be of value, given welfare support, enabled to have justice, and be given the opportunity to attain their own form of reconciliation or closure.”