The importance of peer to peer support for people affected by terrorism is demonstrated in an article published by the International review of Victimology (IRV). The article reports on the experiences and perceptions of peer support offered to UK terrorist survivors and follows research undertaken by Nichola Rew at the University of Portsmouth following an extensive study.
The results demonstrated an overwhelming preference by those affected by terrorism to seek support through peers who have experienced the same event, as opposed to seeking support through professional, established victim support organisations.
The research found that those survivors of terror attacks who took part in the study generally had negative experiences of official channels of support. One of the main barriers to accessing formal support was not the stigma of seeking help, but the lack of joint working between agencies resulting in delayed treatment times.
In the last few weeks, the Home Office Victims of Terrorism Unit has established a new network of four organisations to combine formal statutory and non-statutory support alongside commissioning the Peace Foundation to enhance its peer-to-peer support service.
The Peace Foundation is facilitating a variety of peer support online and offline networks alongside specialists who can offer individual and group support and host relevant events.
If you want to know more or seek access to support, then contact the Peace Foundation at email@example.com
Supporting the survivors: Experiences and perceptions of peer support offered to UK terrorist survivors
First Published October 28, 2020 Research Article
Recent terror incidents in the UK, including the targeting of concert attendees in Manchester, to individuals socialising and working in central London, highlight the public’s vulnerability and that attacks can be indiscriminate, resulting in any individual becoming a victim to this fearful crime. As a consequence of these and other attacks, including those overseas, media reporting within the UK has increasingly focused on the inadequate levels of support offered to survivors from official agencies. However, little evaluation has been conducted regarding the benefits of support networks and online support groups created directly by those individuals affected by terror attacks.
Quantitative research findings obtained through a self-administered online questionnaire, completed by 81 survivors of terrorist attacks who are members of different peer support networks in the UK, endorsed that while victims feel that adequate professional support is lacking, significant positive experiences have been achieved through peer support, particularly through the internet. This first independent academic study found that it was these methods of support that had the most resonance with individuals and offers several recommendations, based on findings, which could enhance and improve support for survivors of terrorism in the future.