INQUEST launches online Skills and Support Toolkit
The toolkit is an interactive, user led resource for family and friends going through the inquest process. Whether it be getting paperwork organised, speaking in public for the first time, attending meetings or asking for support, the toolkit acts as a guide for families facing the daunting investigation and inquest process.
Families have the opportunity to practice existing skills, or try out new ones like dealing with the press and media, contacting their MP, or working with other families to campaign for a fairer system.
The toolkit was devised with families and reflects their guidance, knowledge and insight. It was written by consultant to the project, Chris Tully. It's easy to use and, with input from the Family Reference Group, adds up to a practical resource that reflects the experience of people who have been through the process.
Sara Ryan, mother of 18 year old Connor Sparrowhawk, who died whilst an patient at a Southern Health unit said:
"This toolkit will provide bereaved and bereft families with all the information they need to seek accountability and justice in an accessible format. An invaluable and empowering resource."
Lee Jarman, brother of Kevin Scarlett who died at HMP Woodhill said:
"We were involved with so many agencies during Kevin’s life, from which we struggled to get the help we needed. Through the toolkit, INQUEST are passing on invaluable advice and skills to enhance all families to get the answers they need and much more.”
Marcia Rigg, sister of Sean Rigg who died at Brixton Police Station said:
"The toolkit has a simple and easy format that is extremely informative, and gives a clear honest outline of the lengthy legal process, obstacles and practical tips during what will be an emotive and difficult time for all the family."
Deborah Coles, Co-director of INQUEST said:
“The toolkit has been developed in collaboration with families who have direct experience of the inquest and investigation process. It is a truly unique and user-led resource, which provides families with the skills to take on the challenges they face. We thank the Big Lottery Fund for making this project possible.”
The toolkit contains a compelling foreword by Yvonne Bailey, mother of 16 year old Joseph Scholes who died at Stokeheath YOI. Other features include:
Easy to use layout
To help families absorb the often complex and high quantity of information during an inquest, the site is composed of a clean and simple layout. The home page provides a clear overview of the site, with four drop-down boxes signposting the main chapters of the site. This encourages users to dip in and out of the toolkit and to quickly find the information they need.
Rather than simply provide information in the form of text, families told us that they felt it was more constructive for a user to actively participate in understanding what is being said. Based on this feedback we have included many interactive features throughout the resource.
In the section 'Existing Skills', for example, a checklist is provided on the skills individuals may use during the inquest process. In answering, not only can they see the types of skills they don't have, but they will also be offered further information on how they would "like to improve" in a particular area.
INQUEST's Family Reference Group told us that large amounts of visual information can be tiring. To counter this, we have provided an audio accompaniment, which include the voices of some of the family members we work with: Tony Herbert, father of James Herbert who died at Yeovil Police Station and Marcia Rigg, sister of Sean Rigg who died at Brixton Police Station. The audio function accompanies each page on the site.
‘The decision to publish the Cass report is an extraordinary victory for INQUEST… Belatedly, it lifts another layer of camouflage from the secrets, lies and impunity that prevail in large sections of the British state and make such terrible events not merely possible but more likely…What INQUEST, Celia Stubbs and countless others around the world – say, the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Disappeared in Argentina – keep reminding us is not just that the instincts of the powerful are wrong, but that they can also be defeated, however long it may take.’
– David Ransom, friend of Blair Peach and former editor of New Internationalist magazine