Monday, 20 August 2018 05:15

CALL FOR ACTION ON DEATHS ABROAD AS KIRSTY MAXWELL DOCUMENTARY AIRS

UK GOVERNMENT "FAILING FAMILIES" WITH LACK OF SUPPORT, WARNS SNP MP
 
SNP MP Hannah Bardell has called on the UK government to “radically improve” the support it provides for the families of UK nationals that die abroad – as a new BBC documentary airs (‘Killed Abroad’, Monday, 9.00pm, BBC One) on the tragic death of her constituent Kirsty Maxwell.
 

The MP for Livingston, and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Deaths Abroad and Consular Services, said the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is "failing families" who are facing additional anxiety and stress due to inadequate information and support. 
 
The SNP is calling for the UK government to conduct an urgent review into the support it provides to bereaved families, and improve the funding and resources made available in their search for truth and justice – including through frontline Consular support services.
 
Hannah Bardell has written to the Foreign Secretary to highlight the work of the APPG, which will soon produce an interim report on the evidence it has taken from over forty families across the UK.
 
Commenting, Hannah Bardell MP said:
 
"The UK government must radically improve the support it provides for bereaved families whose loved ones have died abroad – especially where the person has been murdered or died in suspicious circumstances.
 
"Too often families searching for truth and justice are instead getting inadequate information and support from the UK Foreign Office – leading to additional stress and anxiety at what is already a deeply traumatic time.
 
"The tragic death of Kirsty Maxwell, who was killed in Benidorm last year, has shone a light on the unacceptable barriers that families are currently facing. Like the family of Julie Pearson, another constituent of mine who was killed abroad, Kirsty Maxwell's family have been very badly let down.
 
"Bereaving families in a state of shock and grief often have to deal with multiple agencies, and fight to get even the most basic facts about the circumstances of their loved ones deaths - it is simply not good enough.
 
“The UK government must conduct an urgent review of the support it provides, and improve the funding and resources available – including through frontline Consular support services.
 
“The evidence we have taken from bereaved families across the UK has shown that almost all felt there was very little support from the FCO and no clear processes or procedures. There are many ways in which support must improve – from introducing a single point of contact for families, to help with repatriation, translation services and legal representation.
 
"These families have been extremely brave in speaking out – their voices must now be heard, and the UK government must take meaningful action to address the failings and gaps in support.”


The documentary ‘Killed Abroad’ is due to air on BBC One, 9.00pm, Monday 20 August: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bb7md5
 
Hannah Bardell MP is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Deaths Abroad and Consular Services, which will soon produce its interim report on evidence taken from bereaved families throughout the UK.
 
Families 'failed' when loved ones die abroad: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45171451
 
Hannah Bardell: More compassion and support needed when loved ones are lost abroad - https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/hannah-bardell-more-compassion-and-support-needed-when-loved-ones-are-lost-abroad-b3zzphjf2

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