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INQUEST Family Forum
INQUEST’s Family Forum provides a space for mutual support and sharing between the families we work with who have experienced traumatic bereavement following a relative’s death in custody or detention.
Many families often describe to us their feelings of isolation, stigma, frustration, fears and uncertainty after a death and/or in the run up to an inquest.
In 2002 INQUEST published the results of a detailed survey which indicated that the majority of bereaved families facing inquests suffer some serious adverse effects to their health and personal lives. Almost two-thirds noted deterioration in their physical health and 66% recorded increased emotional distress.
In response INQUEST decided to build on its strong relations with families and to create a space that brings together a diverse group of relatives with different experiences of the post-death and inquest process. The purpose of the Family Forum is to:
- Reassure relatives that they are not alone and to help them cope with the stress, anxiety, and stigma generated by deaths in custody/detention;
- Empower them to take on the unique challenges that they face through a shared sense of solidarity and collective experience.
The Family Forum meets twice a year and gives families the opportunity to meet new people, to share their experiences, and to feed back to INQUEST their thoughts, feelings, and ideas on a range of issues which are established by agenda before the meeting.
Travel expenses are paid and tea, coffee, and lunch are provided. Families are also asked if they would like to get more involved with future family meetings and other support networks. These might include:
- Interest in future Family Forums;
- Supporting other families;
- Interest in parliamentary and campaign work;
- Willingness to be contacted by the press;
- Happy for their contact details to be shared by other members of the group;
- Receiving the INQUEST e-newsletter.
Recent comments from families include:
“We felt very welcome and there was a sense of warmth within the group sharing such unique experiences. The venue was ideal providing a safe environment to share personal stories and to listen and learn from others.”
“If we didn’t have the help from INQUEST I don’t think I’d be here as you begin to think you’ve gone mad as you are being told that your concerns are not real.”
“Last year I heard everyone’s stories and felt heartbroken inside. I couldn’t speak and had lost my confidence. Now I feel more angry. I can question and demand. Last year I had lost cognitive function, but now am able to get feelings into proper words.”
“Its heart-breaking that so many people need the support of INQUEST but heart-warming that events such as the family forum exist.”
Our next Family Forums will take place on Saturday 30 September in Liverpool and Saturday 18 November in London. If you would like to find out more, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
In this section:
‘You have clearly made yourselves a force to be reckoned with, a powerful instrument for good. In the process you have not only achieved real change in an aspect of our common life which would have commanded little attention or esteem were it not for your efforts, but you have at the same time offered enormous support to those bereaved people who long for a clear verdict on the death in custody of someone who means a great deal to them.’
– Dr Peter Selby, President of the National Council for Independent Monitoring Boards