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TYOK Daniel Bygrave Victim Support worker
Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re a victim support worker

Danielle Goldstein

…according to Daniel Bygrave, 26.

Supporting the victims of major incidents is a 24/7 operation

‘We’ve been helping victims of crime and terror attacks since 1974, but last year was a bit of a turning point for us. After the Westminster Bridge attack, we went 24/7 with our support line because of the number of calls we received, including lots during evenings and weekends. That demand increased with the other major incidents that followed. The support line has become a huge part of what we do.’

Sometimes it takes months for people to seek help

‘We’ve noticed that people don’t tend to start getting in touch until about a week after an incident. After the Manchester attack last year, we were still getting people calling up a couple of months later. Sometimes the shock is so great that people don’t realise they need support.’

Returning to the scene of an incident can help the healing process

‘The first thing we try to do is normalise someone’s fears. Sometimes they don’t feel comfortable travelling around the city because they’re avoiding a certain traumatic place. We’ve assisted people simply by walking around the area with them, so they don’t feel alone.’

It’s not an empty cliché: Londoners really do come together in a crisis

‘During a major incident you experience the best in people. As a London commuter myself, I’m very aware that you can just put your headphones in and make no eye contact. But following a major incident you find that people try to help: they provide first aid or ensure that others are able to get on buses safely. It makes you think about how amazing people actually are.’

Get in touch with Victim Support on 0808 168 9111 or support its One UK fundraising campaign by texting OUKA18 £10 to 70070.

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