Terror survivors seek creation of new fund to support vicitms and bereaved families

Terror survivors have called for the creation of a new fund to help attack victims and bereaved families, claiming that the current system is broken.

Survivors Against Terror published a report on Monday – highlighting issues of fraud, inefficiency and inequity within the existing funding structures.

Founded by survivors and bereaved relatives of victims of Islamist bombings, IRA attacks and far-right extremist murders, the group want a new British Survivors Fund established.

Travis Frain, a steering group member of Survivors Against Terror – who was seriously injured in the Westminster Bridge attack, said: “When terror strikes, British people want to help.

“One of our first instincts following attacks is to raise money to help those affected – but the present system is broken.

“Each attack sees multiple fundraising responses, some real, some fake, some high profile, some more amateur. Too often it feels like potluck who gets help and who doesn’t.

“As a result, the public don’t know how to help, fraud has been facilitated and money is not being spent efficiently.

“It has also left people like myself and my friends being forced to use student loans or relying on the goodwill of close friends and family to pay for counselling and treatment for our injuries.

“It shouldn’t be like this.”

The report highlights how following the Manchester Arena attack, fundraising site JustGiving placed more than 200 accounts in quarantine, after the Charity Commission warned fraudsters were trying to exploit public generosity.

Amid the same concerns, it also notes that after the London Bridge attack, JustGiving deleted three appeals and placed 43 in quarantine.

The group said the British Survivors Fund would be loosely modelled on the existing Disasters Emergency Committee and the London Emergencies Trust.

Focusing on public fundraising instead of statutory compensation, the report argues that the fund should be live within hours of an attack in the UK or involving British victims, ready to help individuals and charities supporting them, and also widely supported by the media.

This would mean more money would be raised, the cash would be better spent, and the public presented with a better opportunity to help those in need, the group said.

“As families who have been affected by terror attacks, we know the financial costs associated,” the report states.

“That might be related to funerals, the loss of the main earner in a household, the need to pay for counselling or physiotherapy, the inability to work, the need to make changes to your own home to adapt to your injuries.”

Produced by the group, the report was drafted by Charlotte Dixon-Sutcliffe whose husband was killed in the Brussels metro bombing, and Brendan Cox, the widower of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox.

Dan Hett the brother of Manchester bombing victim Martyn Hett, Paralympian and 7/7 survivor Martine Wiltshire and Mike Haines whose brother David was murdered by IS in Syria, are some of those involved in the group.

Mr Frain added: “It’s time we put in place basic systems to make public support easier, quicker and fairer.

“We hope the Charity Commission will work with survivors and the sector as a whole to create a new fund before we are left responding to another attack with a chaotic set of appeals.

“Financial support never takes away from the pain and trauma of attacks, but it can at least stop finances being another thing to worry about in the days and weeks after.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Nick Ansell / PA Wire.