Community Safety Partnership: Supporting bereaved and injured following accidents

10 Mar

The UK Parliament’s Transport Committee report into level crossing safety is strongly critical of the ways in which the rail sector has interacted with the bereaved following level crossing accidents. This criticism was acknowledged by Network Rail’s Chief Executive who publicly apologised for Network Rail’s past approach.

The language used in responses to media enquiries has been to trot out the rubric that level crossings are safe if used correctly and to refer extensively to user misuse, inferring that the event was wholly the responsibility of those who were killed and/or injured. It is thus important to effectively distinguish between wilful misuse on the one hand and accidents. It is vital that a good track record in reducing risk doesn’t lead to complacency and that the rail and road authorities demonstrate that together they review the risk assessment and consider how it might be reasonably practicable to reduce the likelihood of an accident at the level crossing concerned.

Sue Nelson, founder of Community Safety Partnerships who publish LXinfo has extensive experience of working from within the rail sector to provide long-term support for the bereaved and injured in collaboration with the Family Liaison Officers appointed by British Transport Police.

Sue has written guidance and procedures for use by practitioners who need to work with the bereaved and injured as well as others in railway businesses who need to understand how the needs of the bereaved and injured are to be met following an accident.

Sue is currently Vice-Chair of the Emergency Planning Society’s Human Aspects Working Group which includes within its scope the development and dissemination of good practice approaches to those bereaved and injured by natural disasters and major accidents.

In addition Sue is well placed to help railway businesses avoid wrongly blaming those who have been bereaved or injured through the use of inappropriate language both internally, through the media and most importantly with the bereaved and injured. This capability is built on an initial career in newspapers culminating with a spell as news editor of a daily newspaper and then 15 years in the rail industry working on community safety initiatives, seven of which also involved working with those bereaved and injured as a result of both high profile multi-fatality rail accidents and young people who died as accessing not publicly accessible railway infrastructure.

If you would like to learn more of Community Safety Partnerships work in relation to support the bereaved and injured, please contact Sue Nelson at

One Response to “Community Safety Partnership: Supporting bereaved and injured following accidents”

  1. John Tilly March 10, 2014 at 17:40 #

    Well done Sue

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