In its online tagline, Roadpeace describes itself as 'the national charity for road crash victims'. This specific language – describing those involved in crashes as 'victims' - is integral to the campaigning work done by the charity to reduce road danger and ultimately reach zero deaths and zero serious injuries on the roads.
RoadPeace CEO Nick Simmons recently concluded events at our seminar Working with the Police: Evidence and Outcomes. He reiterated the theme of the seminar, so starkly summed up by trauma surgeon Ross Davenport, that early access and interventions are vital to support victims by enabling timely rehabilitation via interim funds which so often depend on collision investigation data collected by the police.
Nick added: 'Limited police resources, increasing workloads and data protection issues are all creating barriers that we want to see removed… [we need] more effective collaboration with police.
'... this topic comes up on our helpline from our members - obtaining data from the police and other sources, like vehicle manufacturers, is becoming a key issue for road crash victims.'
Going back to the language promoted by the charity, Nick said that using the word victim is important 'because that's how the majority of our members describe themselves… We operate a helpline and we deliver peer to peer support because a strong belief of ours is that only someone who has been involved in a road crash completely understands what that situation can be like'.
Ensuring that the victim's voice and their lived experience is shared and heard is central to Roadpeace's work, not lease since 'there's a sense that it hasn't been heard enough in the past, but it is beginning to be heard more'.
RoadPeace also campaigns for the word 'crash' to be used rather than 'accident' because 'an accident is when you spill a cup of coffee, a crash is much more important' and needs to be seen as such in the charity's fight to see road crime treated like 'a real crime' by the police, not pushed 'far down the list'.
'Too often', he concluded, 'the justice system can make what is already an awful personal experience somehow even worse, and that needs to stop.'
For more than 30 years, RoadPeace has provided vital support services to those bereaved or seriously injured in road crashes as well as campaigning for justice for victims and road danger reduction.
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