How do we Respond to Terror?

Travis D. Frain

Its been nearly five years since I joined Edge Hill University, studying for a BA in History with Politics. My time as a student was far from orthodox, as in March 2017 I was part of a group of politics students involved in the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge whilst on a university trip down to London.

A lot has changed since then; wanting to learn more about the events that had led to my involvement, I decided to enrol with Lancaster University on a Military History. The experience broadened my understand of  many issues, principally the need for better understanding of extremism, and for us to better support those affected by acts of terror.

Survivors of terrorism can require support across an array of areas. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Immediate medical, and ongoing physical and mental health treatment
  • Expert, legal and financial issues
  • Assistance with the media
  • Enquiries, inquests, and concurrent court action
  • Threats from conspiracy theorists or intimidation from extremists

Our pressure group Survivors Against Terror interviewed nearly 300 British victims of terrorism in 2018 with revelatory results.

76% identified mental health services as inadequate, 52% identified a lack of financial support, and 38% highlighted insufficient legal support.

Perhaps unsurprisingly 84% of interviewees identified family or friends, and 56% identified survivors of other terror attacks as their primary provider of support; only 5% identified the State.

I’m proud that Edge Hill University has taken the initiative on this by organising last week’s ‘Victims of Terrorism and State Responses’ Conference at which I was privileged to present. This is an example of how we can all begin to better understand these issues.

The requirement to better understand and respond to these needs is incumbent on us all, because as terror attacks, whilst rare, show little sign of diminishing; and so there will always be victims of terrorism.

By proactively investing in support before an attack occurs we can foster resilience within our communities against terrorism, and seek to prevent future attacks from occurring in the first place.

We can succeed in making the necessary changes and improving things for future victims.

Travis D. Frain, Survivors Against Terror Support Group.

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