Many 7/7 attack victims are still dealing with its repercussions

Published 9 July 2007

Those who survive a terrorist attack have many problems to cope with, and government bureaucracies set up to help vitims are often not as nimble as we would hope

As is the case with other terrorist acts, there are victims of the attacks who continue to suffer the consequences, physical and emotional, for years after the attack. Experts and campaigners for the victims of the 7/7 terrorist bombings — for example, the 7th July Assistance group — say that there are about 3,000 people still suffering some level of psychological trauma following the 2005 attacks. At least twenty a week are continuing to seek treatment for post traumatic stress disorder, with the condition affecting even those who thought they had escaped relatively unscathed. The Guardian’s Hugh Muir writes that away from the public gaze, the lives of those affected by the bombs are blighted by relationship and employment difficulties. Survivors say that while the passage of time has allowed some to heal, it also multiplies their difficulties because the level of public sympathy and understanding has inevitably dissipated.

Rachel North, who survived the Piccadilly Line explosion, set up the King’s Cross United website and has campaigned ever since for official recognition of difficulties faced by survivors. She said there is a pressing need for wider understanding. “Employers and GP’s and health workers need to understand a bit more; so they are aware of things like anniversary triggers. Some people abuse alcohol or use sedatives or smoke too much or stop looking after themselves. In that position you are not the ideal employer or partner or friend,” she says.

What does not help is the fact that many 7/7 bombing victims have not yet received the proper compensation. The Independent’s Nicola Boden writes that more than 120 victims injured in the 7 July bombings are still waiting for full compensation two years on from the attacks. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority(CICA) has not yet resolved a fifth of claims made in relation to the attacks in London in 2005. A spokesman for the agency conceded that 126 of 614 cases are still outstanding, amid claims survivors had been forgotten and were struggling to deal with such an impenetrable, unwieldy compensation system.

CICA dismissed the idea it had been waiting on cases for two years as “very misleading” and said applications were even now still coming in. A spokesman said: “There are 126 out of 614 outstanding according to the latest figures we have but we are still receiving applications. “We have had 47 so far this year and seven in the past week. To give the impression that the CICA has been waiting on cases for two years is very misleading.”

The agency has given out £4.2 million in total since 7 July 2005, and £1.2 million in the past year alone, which has seen it resolve 91 cases.