Survivors of terrorist atrocities are launching a new group to lobby the Government on counter-terror policies and improved support for victims.
The Survivors Against Terror group was founded by survivors and bereaved relatives of victims of Islamist bombings, IRA attacks and far-right extremist murders committed on British soil and elsewhere.
Brendan Cox, the widower of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, and Mike Haines, whose brother David was beheaded on camera after being held captive by Islamic State in Syria, are among the founders.
Brendan Cox, the widower of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox (pictured left) and Mike Haines, whose brother David (right) was beheaded on camera after being held captive by Islamic State in Syria, are among the founders of the The Survivors Against Terror group
Dan Hett and Figen Murray, the brother and mother of Manchester bombing victim Martyn Hett, Paralympian and 7/7 survivor Martine Wiltshire, Jo Berry, who lost her father in the IRA Brighton hotel bombing and Tunisia resort shooting victim Gina Van Dort are also involved.
They said: ‘Our collective view is that terrorism can be defeated – but only if we pull together as a country to fight it more effectively. We will work to build a voice for survivors.’
The group aims to campaign for more effective policies to combat terror and identify gaps in support for victims and the bereaved, as well as help the public tackle hate speech and the terror threat.
The founders said: ‘As a group of survivors and family members we have had mixed experiences of support from the government and other service providers.
Emergency services at Manchester Arena after a terror attack during an Ariana Grande gig
‘In some cases this has been exemplary, in other cases families and survivors have been left with no support at all.
‘We will be reaching out to other survivors and bereaved families to build a better picture of what is and isn’t working and will be talking to the government and other service providers about the gaps we identify.’
Dan Hett and Figen Murray, the brother and mother of Manchester bomb victim Martyn Hett (pictured) are involved in the group
The new group also called on social media companies to take stronger action and urged the media to treat survivors more respectfully.
Survivors Against Terror plans to survey a wide group of victims and go into schools to talk about the impact of hatred.
They added: ‘Terrorism is not a new phenomenon but it continues to cause huge pain and anguish.
‘Our country has taken on and defeated bigger threats in the past, and we believe if we work together as a country and look after those bereaved or injured, we can and will defeat this as well.’
Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, welcomed the creation of the new group.
She said: ‘I have incredible admiration for the courage and dedication of everyone involved.
‘Their ambition to bring positive change as a response to their horrific experiences is truly inspiring.
The number 30 double-decker bus in Tavistock Square, which was destroyed by a terrorist bomb on July 7 2005. Fifty-two people, all UK residents but of 18 different nationalities, were killed and more than 700 were injured in the attacks
‘We are committed to providing the best support for victims of terrorism, and that is why last year we set up the Victims of Terrorism Unit which will make sure that support, both in the UK and overseas, is comprehensive and made swiftly available to those who need it.
‘I look forward to working with Survivors Against Terror to ensure that their experiences help shape the work we do.’
Mike Haines *left) and Brendan Cox (right) are two of the founding members of the group