2012 marked our 20th year of operation and was a busy year for our small charity. For RoadPeace, supporting victims has always included working to improve the post-crash response, so that families are not re-traumatised by their experience of the criminal justice system. Our fight for justice for road crash victims dominated 2012 featuring in all areas of our work. We ended the year with the welcome news that the MOJ and DfT will undertake a review of traffic justice. RoadPeace will now work to ensure that any review translates into real change and improved treatment for road crash victims.
We enter 2013 hopeful that the MOJ and DfT finally appreciate the need for road crash victims to be treated as victims of crime, and that our justice system needs to be fairer before our transport system can be safer.
Read on to find out more, and for our review of 2012.
The RoadPeace team
Amy, Sara, Belina, and Ossie
Support for victims
• Our helpline received over 700 contacts from victims of road crashes, and over 65 requests for befrienders.
• We employed a caseworker, the first in the country supporting road crash victims
• We continued our six week Resilience Building programme in London and extended it to Oxford.
• Our RoadPeace London support group met for the first time and continued to meet bimonthly, providing another opportunity for the bereaved to come together.
Traffic Justice campaign
Ending the discrimination against road crash victims
• We began 2012 by responding to the Labour Party’s Justice Policy consultation to ensure they were aware of the injustices faced by crash victims.
• We consulted with RoadPeace members and the RoadPeace co-ordinated Road Victims Working Group before we responded to the Ministry of Justice's (MOJ) Getting it Right consultation on victim services. We argued that their proposals continue to discriminate against road crash victims.
• We lobbied throughout the year to get the Victim Service Alliance, the umbrella association coordinated by Victim Support, to extend its terms of reference to include those bereaved by road crashes. This was finally achieved in the Autumn, thanks to the tenacity and persistence of Cynthia Barlow, our Chair.
• In London, we contributed to the Mayor's Police and Crime Commission's review of victims of crime and informed them of how road crash victims were overlooked and ignored.
• News of Baroness Newlove's appointment as Victims' Commissioner at the end of 2012 was welcomed as she has shown compassion and outrage at the plight of road crash victims.
• We ended the year with a meeting with the MOJ, Department for Transport (DfT), British Cycling, and CTC, where we summarised the many ways in which road crash victims were discriminated against. Helen Grant, Victims Minister, was sympathetic to our calls and supported the need for change
Improving transparency and accountability
• In February TfL shared the research into the experience of cyclists killed and seriously injured in London. This was a ground-breaking study, requested by RoadPeace. We responded, on behalf of CTC and LCC, with the key call for greater transparency by the police and CPS. We were able to get the Metropolitan Police Service to agree to produce an annual report of charging decisions in fatal and serious injury cycle collision investigations.
• Our Justice for Cyclists briefing for the Parliamentary Cycling Debate in March summarised the problems within investigation, inquest, prosecution, sentencing, compensation and victims' rights, and called for cycle safety initiatives to deliver justice after a crash
• We sent our PCC Manifesto to all Police and Crime Commissioner Candidates to ensure they did not overlook the need to invest in traffic law enforcement, collision investigation and support for crash victims.
• With the majority of families bereaved by crashes experiencing inquests, we continue to campaign for coroner reform. We have started providing coroner reform updates which include summaries of road death related Rule 43 reports. We also spoke out against the ruling banning the use of Unlawful Killing verdict in road death inquests. We also wrote to all coroners urging them to use their positions to reduce death and injury through Rule 43 reports, and sent them information on HGV safety technology.
Road danger reduction
• Our See Me Save Me campaign is dedicated to reducing lorry danger and saving lives, particularly by designing out the blind spot through the use of motion sensors and cameras. We launched our new campaign website www.seemesaveme.com on 5th February, on the 3rd anniversary of the death of cyclist Eilidh Cairns. That same week The Times launched Cities Fit for Cycling with an 8-point manifesto, featuring RoadPeace Chair Cynthia Barlow. Mandatory HGV safety technology for lorries was their first manifesto point.
• Our Speed Matters tackled another blind spot with briefings making the wider case for speed reduction. RoadPeace was part of a coalition of organisations, No to 80, which opposed any increase to motorway speeds.
• RoadPeace is based in London and we are a key stakeholder on the Transport for London cycle safety and pedestrian safety working groups. We highlighted the need to prioritise traffic justice in our response to TfL's draft road safety plan consultation and promoted key calls by organisations committed to road danger reduction.
• Our London Mayoral manifesto called for a safer and fairer London.
• We responded to the London Assembly’s Cycle safety enquiry and were successful in getting them to pick up the call for stricter liability. We have requested British Cycling and CtC extend their current justice reform calls similarly.
• In December, much media attention focused on the BBC1 War on Britain's Roads programme. This featured Cynthia Barlow, who so aptly demonstrated the passion of survivor advocates and the need for the bereaved to see change and others spared similar suffering.
• RoadPeace launched our Road Crime in Real Crime campaign during August National Road Victims Month. For the 10th year, we organised the national Remembrance Ceremony at the RoadPeace Wood at the National Memorial Arboretum.
• In November, the World Day of Remembrance commemoration included nearly 30 services around the UK, a roadside candle-lit vigil, and a memorial bike ride.
• Our on-line memorial to road crash victims www.remembermememorials.com continues to provide a place for families to remember loved ones and leave tributes
• TfL produced a Remember Me roadside plaque and agreed that families bereaved by crashes in London were able to place a Remember Me plaque at the crash site for a limited time period.
2012: thank you
RoadPeace wouldn't exist without the financial support of our brave members, fundraisers, and corporate sponsors;
Fenton's, Irwin Mitchell, Pannone; as well as our funders the Kenneth Miller Trust; Polden Puckham Charitable Foundation; Awards for All; Network for Social Change and the Ministry of Justice's Victim Fund.
Thanks also go to Transport for London and Withy King for supporting our Resilience Building programme.
Finally we thank our courageous members, especially those who coordinate local groups, organise remembrance services, befriend victims, and argue the case for a safer and fairer world with the local media and policy makers.
If you are not yet a member please do join us, your membership will help us achieve more.