Good practices: terrorist Cataluña attack and others emergency experiences

29 Sep, 2017

Our Spanish members Asociación de Apoyo a Víctimas de Delitos (ANVDV) are sharing theri reflections on ther aftermath of the Barcelona attack:

Dear colleagues, dear friends,

we want you to express our sincere gratitude to all Victim Support Europe’s members for the support and solidarity given to us during these very painful days. Their empathy and embrace has helped us and encouraged us to cope with this lamentable burden of terrorist horror.

It is the second time that Spain suffers from a massacre perpetrated by jihadist elements ready to immolate themselves causing the maximum number of victims.

We also want to express our gratitude to the embassies and consulates that have channelled requests for information, help and support to their fellow citizens: the dead and wounded belong to 35 nationalities, Barcelona being a first-rate tourist destination attract people from all over the world. We know now that the terrorists were preparing another attack in one of the most emblematic buildings (Sagrada Familia or Torre Akbar).

This experience makes us realise that a better answer is needed for the victims and their families. It is true, and we want to emphasize it, that the response of the Spanish authorities to the victims and their families has been of the highest level. Spain for its recent history is prepared to give an adequate response to these situations. But everything can be made better.

We propose that at European level and facilitated by the Parliament and the Commission, a protocol is drawn up on the essential points for dealing with victims and for defending them. We offer for the discussion the following ideas, experiences and good practices:

Rapidity– Provide information points immediately (equipped with enough resources).

One mechanism – A sole mechanism and points of attention, specialized, efficient and competent; always offered in all major languages. That service must be verifiable and under the maximum national authority of the state where the attack is perpetrated. Paralell services confuse and discourage victims so should not be made. All this support is welcome but will always be integrated into the same system/mechanism

Media – Immediate creation by the competent national authority of a web page where, always in different languages, give brief and exact information about what to do in the first moments (how to identify yourself to obtain information about your relative or friends, place and telephone number of consulates and embassies, where to go, health and hospital centers, telephones…) procedures and mechanisms for the repatriation of relatives, immediate obtaining of aid, lodging and support for relatives, protection and guardianship of minors, etc …

– twitter and other forms of dissemination. Under the same criteria of unity, coordination and supervisión.

– An email account, answering in several languages

These computer systems, formulas or mechanisms have the advantage of their immediacy of access, and help to avoid telephone lines and primary care canters without to be collapsed.

Team – For this purpose, Member States, depending on their administrative organization, will have prepared a team (members of the State administration, computer technicians, psychologists, lawyers, operators, etc.) and material resources. This team will give an immediate response to the crisis, it will coordinate the different administrations, security forces, NGO’s, hospitals, consulates, etc … Nowadays it is not necessary to keep this team in a specific location, but they can work in a coordinated way from any location.

FREE TELEPHONE NUMBER- One free telephone number to call to, with at least one hundred lines. Attended by a first team of people who channel and distribute calls to other operators, according to language, importance and type of issues raised. This team will be reduced as the days go by.

INFORMATION ABOUT VICTIMS- It will not be possible to give information about victims, their situation, their health, their circumstances, their images, etc … except to relatives, after identification, through consular services. For a short time, information such as name, surnames, nationality and current photo of the wounded and deceased will be published on the website created. For purposes of identification and to make known their status to their relatives and friends. Once the relatives have been contacted, only those contents that they expressly authorize will be published.

FUND – A fund will be created under the European Commission to meet the first needs of the victims and their next of kin for those which country does not have that forecasted

PROHIBITION OF IMAGES- Radical and absolute prohibition of sending cruel or morbid images about the attack and its victims in social networks and media.

EVALUATION TEAM- Creation of a team to monitor the care being provided to the victims, empowering its team to gather the necessary information from the authorities to evaluate the assistance given. Statistical study of all of this where victims and relatives are interviewed. Publication of the results.