Survivors form anti-terror campaign group

More than a dozen survivors and family members of those killed in terror attacks have joined forces to form a new anti-terrorism campaign group.

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.

At a launch event at a school, Mr Cox was joined by Jo Berry, whose father Sir Anthony Berry was killed by the IRA in the Brighton bombing, and Charlotte Dixon-Sutcliffe, whose husband was killed in the Brussels metro bombing.

They said one of the aims of their initiative is to reach out to young people to end the cycle of hate around terrorism.

The group 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.”

Also among the founders is Dan Hett and Figen Murray, the brother and mother of Manchester bombing victim Martyn Hett, as well as Paralympian and 7/7 survivor Martine Wiltshire, and Tunisia resort shooting victim Gina Van Dort.

The Survivors Against Terror group is also urging others to join as it begins work on Monday.

Tributes to the victims and injured of the Manchester Arena bombing in St Ann's Square in Manchester

Image: Tributes to the victims and injured of the Manchester Arena bombing in St Ann’s Square in Manchester

It has highlighted five areas of priority:

:: Strong support for the police and security services
:: Better integrated and more inclusive communities
:: Tackling the hate speech that drives terror (from extremist preachers to neo-Nazis)
:: Stronger action by social media companies and respectful treatment of survivors by traditional media
:: A unified public response.

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.

“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.”

Survivors Against Terror plans to survey a wide group of victims and go into schools to talk about the impact of hatred.

Amber Rudd

Image: Amber Rudd welcomed the group’s creation

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.

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“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.

Last year was one of the worst for terrorism in the UK. Attacks at Westminster Bridge, Manchester Arena, London Bridge and a mosque in Finsbury Park in London killed 36 people.