Sudden Bereavement Charter

RoadPeace is one of a number of organisations that has signed up to the Sudden Bereavement Charter.

The Sudden Bereavement Charter shines a light on the acute and often grave needs of people bereaved unexpectedly. This includes people who have died due to an immediately fatal or suddenly life-limiting condition such as COVID-19, brain haemorrhage, or an event such as a road death, homicide, suicide or other disaster.

The charter is written in recognition that any death of someone we love can be hard to bear, and all bereaved people deserve access to support services. Every bereavement is unique, and every bereavement matters. The charter states:

People who are suddenly bereaved, whether at home or overseas, have a right to: 

  1. Live in a society that recognises the personal impact of a sudden bereavement and the importance of access to equitable and appropriate support for children and adults bereaved unexpectedly; and whether one, or many, families, friends or colleagues are affected.
  2. Access, if needed, to support from bereavement specialists with expertise in helping suddenly bereaved people from day one, to safeguard welfare and wellbeing at a time of personal disaster, with such services appropriately resourced and supported by government and other statutory funders.
  3. Access to NHS mental health care as appropriate, including timely assessment of mental health needs, and timely treatment of diagnosed mental health conditions.
  4. Support with practical needs, such as appropriate time off work and financial support for those who need it most.
  5. (If a death is being investigated by the police or a criminal charge is being brought) Police ‘Family Liaison Officer’ help, and independent support through the criminal justice system and courts; with bereaved people’s victim status recognised and respected. They should have their voices heard and be kept informed.
  6. If required, specialist help with other legal or other complex issues that may follow a sudden death, such as wills, inquests and claims for compensation, that is timely and equitable.
  7. Be counted. There should be robust government data that records numbers of people who have died unexpectedly, by cause of death, to support informed policy decision making about the scale of sudden bereavement and the resources required to care appropriately for suddenly bereaved people.
  8. Support that is informed by research and evidence that demonstrates the best ways to help people bereaved suddenly,  providing for their immediate welfare needs and to foster wellbeing long term.