In 2018, there were 25,514 fatal or serious road crashes in the UK, with an average of five people dying on roads every day. These tragedies leave thousands of bereaved and seriously injured people in need of specialist support.

Brake’s National Road Victim Service (NRVS) has helped road crash victims for more than two decades, offering them a lifeline with early intervention and lasting, specialist support, through a quality, accredited helpline and information service delivered in partnership with all police forces.

All police refer into the service through the delivery of a comprehensive pack of Brake support information to victims within 24 hours of a crash involving death.

The NRVS helps bereaved and injured victims to deal with complex emotional, practical and procedural issues through its confidential support service; providing information, advocacy and emotional support for as long as required.

The Department for Transport has funded Brake £169,685 to support the delivery of the NRVS in 2020/21. It has been estimated that the NRVS provides an annual saving to the police of £2.2m, through time saved caring for road crash victims.

The service also provides significant savings to other key statutory services, such as health and social care, through reducing the likelihood, or severity, of supported victims developing long-term mental or physical illness.

The NRVS is operational across the whole of the UK and also receives funding from the Scottish Government, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, a number of Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales and corporate supporters of Brake.

Sharron Huddleston’s daughter, Caitlin, (18) died in July 2017 when her friend lost control of the car they were travelling in and collided with a van on the A595 in Cumbria. Both girls died at the scene. Sharron received Brake’s bereavement pack, following the crash, and used the helpline for support.

The support provided by Brake, following Caitlin’s death, has been so important to me. The kindness, listening ear and advice from Brake helped me through the most challenging time of my life and my helpline officer now feels like one of my closest friends. Road crashes are horrific and traumatic and all victims deserve the quality of support that Brake provide.

Sharron Huddleston

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “The National Road Victim Service provides vital specialist help for victims, families and loved ones, during incredibly tragic circumstances. I am delighted to provide funding for this essential service which provides a lifeline to people during their darkest days.”

Mary Williams, Brake chief executive, said: “At this time of COVID-19, it is particularly important that our emergency and health services are supported by the NGO sector through the provision of vital humanitarian services, such as appropriate care of people bereaved suddenly, including by road crashes.”

Dame Vera Baird, Victims Commissioner for England and Wales, stated: “All victims deserve support throughout their recovery and so I’m delighted that the Department for Transport have stepped in to fund the National Road Victim Service run by Brake

“We all know someone who has been affected by a road crash but because these incidents are so common the victims can tragically be forgotten. Early and expert intervention not only delivers much needed support for victims, it also helps ease the burden on our stretched emergency services.”

Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Roads Policing said, “Police officers attend thousands of serious and fatal road traffic collisions every year. The scale of suffering for victims and loved ones is immense and the impact on the officers who deal with these traumatic incidents should not be understated.

“Brake’s National Road Victim Service is absolutely central to the work of our Family Liaison Officers who support those victims. In addition the service helps ease the burden on the police and provides officers with vital expert advice and support.”

Alison Hernandez, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner, and the road safety lead for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said: "People should not be driving on our roads due to the restrictions on travel, which hopefully should reduce the number affected by road traffic collisions. When we come out the other side of this crisis it will be vital for people to remember to continue to use the roads safely and to be reassured that they can obtain this important support if a loved one has been involved in a road traffic collision."