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New book Collective Conviction tells the story of Disaster Action

7 October 2014

New book Collective Conviction tells the story of Disaster Action

INQUEST is proud to have worked alongside Disaster Action for so many years and to let you know about the publication of this important new book by Anne Eyre and Pam Dix.

Collective Conviction tells the story of Disaster Action, a small but influential charity founded in 1991 by survivors and bereaved people from the disasters of the late 1980s, including Zeebrugge, King’s Cross, Clapham, Lockerbie, Hillsborough and the Marchioness. It draws on the personal experience of individuals affected by 28 disasters up to the present day to guide, inform and illuminate the work of policy makers, emergency planners and responders as well as providing support to people similarly affected by traumatic events.

The book includes first-person accounts and case studies of disasters interweaved with chapters on topics such as the needs and rights of bereaved people and survivors, inquests and inquiries, the law and dealing with the media.

Collective Conviction highlights the difference a small charity can make through successful campaigning for change and should act as an inspiration to all those who seek to influence attitudes, best practice and the legal framework in order to bring about change. The book also testifies to the importance of campaigning groups for maintaining corporate memory so that lessons from past experience are not forgotten.

An extract from Chapter 7: Inquests, Inquiries and Investigations describes how Disaster Action and INQUEST worked together recently:

The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 was passed following extensive consultation with numerous interested parties including Disaster Action, yet in 2013 consultations about implementation of the various reforms contained within the Act were still taking place.

We have highly valued our relationship with organisations such as the charity INQUEST, which offers advice to bereaved families with a focus on deaths in custody, sharing common values around ‘truth, justice and accountability’. Disaster Action linked up with INQUEST, the Royal British Legion and a number of other specialist charities on a successful campaign to retain the role of Chief Coroner, when the government had made up its mind to abolish the post before even the first appointment was made. This was a good example of where organisations with different focuses – deaths on military service, cot death, in custody or through mass fatality incidents – can come together with a common purpose that achieves a good outcome for all. The mutual benefits for different organisations through such association can be seen in the words of Deborah Coles, co Director of INQUEST:

'Disaster Action has played a vital role in raising public and political awareness about the specific needs of those bereaved after a disaster. Having bereaved people and survivors as founders and at the centre of its work brings a drive and determination that has been a powerful influencing and authoritative voice. Disaster Action have been generous in their support of better treatment of ALL bereaved people, they have inspired INQUEST and share common values about the need for truth, justice and accountability following contentious deaths. We have been proud to work with them on a number of successful campaigns including the reform of the inquest system, post of Chief Coroner and the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act. The legacy of its founder Maurice de Rohan continues as we strive towards a safer world in which human lives matter more than the profits of corporations.'

Published by Liverpool University Press you can buy a copy for £9.99 here

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