Definitions

bereaved person

Disaster Action

Disaster Action is a small UK charity who membership is made up of people who have been involved in a UK based disaster, either because they have been been bereaved, or because they are a survivor.

Objectives

Because of its size DA does not try to act as a frontline responder in the case of a disaster, but primarily acts as an advisory and advocacy service to bring to organisations such as central government, local authorities, the police, the fire service, voluntary bodies and even commercial companies, such as railway operators and airlines about the issues they will experience if they are ever unfortunately in the position of having to respond to a major disaster, from the perspective of the final 'consumer' of a disaster, the victim or bereaved person, or a relative of someone who has been involved.

Whilst the charity deals with UK disasters it is open to UK citizens and UK based people who have been caught up in foreign disasters

Origins

In the late 1980s there were a number of serious incidents in which many lives were lost like Hillsborough, the Herald of Free Enterprise, Lockerbie, the Marchioness, Piper Alpha and UT-772. One individual from the Herald Families Association began to realise that the issues the Herald families were experiencing would almost certainly be encountered by others in similar disasters. Maurice de Rohan therefore gathered together a group of people in circumstances that paralleled his, and so DA was set up.

Formal objectives

  • Offer support to those directly affected by major trauma
  • Raise awareness of the needs of survivors and the bereaved in the short- and longer-term aftermath
  • Help create a safety climate in which disasters are less likely to occur

Development

The organisation has developed through the years. One thread has been the introduction of legislation to provide for remedies against Corporate Manslaughter, which culminated with legislation coming into force on 1 April 2008.

Another has been to analyse the experience of its members and summarise the results in a series of pamphlets which are available online.

Pamphlet topics

  • The immediate Aftermath for Relatives and Friends
  • A Survivor in the Aftermath
  • Injury or Death Overseas
  • Overseas Disasters: the Immediate Aftermath
  • Beyond the First Anniversary
  • The Return of Personal Property
  • Setting up Family and/or Survivor Support Groups
  • Reflections on the Personal Experience of Disaster

A third strand has been to act as lay-advisors to bodies such as central government departments, to remind them on their ongoing responsibilities when disasters happen.

A fourth strand is to offer lectures based on members' experience. This helps create a small income stream for the charity.

Funding

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust has funded much of the organisation's work.

Achievements

  • DA won a Guardian charity of the year award in 2004
  • Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2008

References

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