A charity which helps support people to recover from grief and trauma following a road tragedy has been praised by Police and Crime Commissioner, Darryl Preston. 

As national road victim month progresses, Mr Preston is shining a spotlight on the work of the Road Victims Trust (RVT) – a charity dedicated to supporting people impacted by grief or trauma following a road death, serious injury or life-changing collision. 

The service, which receives annual funding from Mr Preston, offers emotional and practical help alongside a special counselling service to people across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. 

Support is provided confidentially and free of charge for however long it is needed.  

The service helps individuals make sense of and cope with the rollercoaster of emotions and anguish that follow a road death or serious injury collision and supports both bereaved loved-ones, families, witnesses and those involved in the collision itself. 

During 2021-22, the RVT provided counselling and support to 171 people; of these 87 per cent were referred directly by the police and around 288 were provided with longer-term support.  

Around 9,000 hours were volunteered by the trust including over 1,176 hours of specialist counselling by just 55 professional counsellors who volunteer their time. 

Among the many supported over the years is the family of Claire Danks, from Soham, whose daughter Lauren was killed in 2016 when her car was hit by a drink driver at speeds of more than 100mph. 

The driver, who failed to stop after the collision, was sentenced to seven years in prison. Claire is now an ambassador for the RVT. 

“We often referred to being in a fog - a confusion of madness - which we were assured was a normal part of shock and grief,” she said. 

“Not knowing how to continue, the RVT have been a huge part in helping us as a family at the worst time. They have given us the tools to help rebuild a new life for our family together.  

“I do believe this would not have been possible to do without the support from our counsellor.”  

Mr Preston supports the RVT as part of his police and crime plan commitment to ensure victims and witnesses of crime receive the expert help and resources they need to rebuild their lives. 

He said: “It is impossible to imagine the turmoil and anguish that accompanies a road death.

"The RVT’s experienced and professional counsellors offer hope and light at the end of a very long tunnel."

Mr Preston added: “The weight of this support and understanding cannot be underestimated. 

“Victims and witnesses do not have to cope with the impact of crime alone.

"As Commissioner, I am immensely proud of the services I commission to support victims of all crimes from sexual violence and burglary to modern slavery and road traffic collisions.

"Protecting the mental health of victims and witnesses of crime will continue to remain a strong focus of my work throughout my term as PCC.”