A Lancaster University researcher is in New York this week at the UN Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism to highlight the launch of a research project, Bee The Difference, which aims to help future young survivors of terror.
Dr Cath Hill, who lectures in Social Work at Lancaster University, is a Manchester Arena attack survivor, along with her son who was 10 at the time.
She and nine young Manchester survivors will attend the international conference at the UN Headquarters in Manhattan on 8th and 9th September to provide their unique perspective alongside United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, civil society organisations, experts and academics.
The nine survivors will advocate for improved support for children and young people whose lives are touched by terrorism.
Alicia Taylor, 19 from Leyland Lancashire, who will present a panel address, will point to the Bee The Difference survey, an initiative created by and for young Manchester survivors, as an important step forward because it gives young people a platform to voice their experiences and bring about positive change.
Ms Taylor said: “Nobody should have to go through a traumatic event and feel like they are silenced afterwards. Nobody should feel undeserving of support. That’s why Bee The Difference is so important to us. It’s not about dwelling on what happened in Manchester but about how we can improve things for the future so that every child affected by terror can get the same support - and it’s there for them as soon as they need it.”
The Bee The Difference survey was designed by the nine young Manchester survivors in collaboration with UK disaster response charity, the National Emergencies Trust and Lancaster University.
The easy-to-complete survey is open to all children and young people affected by the Manchester Arena attack and who were under 18 when it happened. This includes those impacted indirectly through a loved one or friend, as well as those who were present at the Arena when the attack took place.
Dr Hill said: “As a social worker I appreciate that speaking to children and young people about something as sensitive as terrorism can feel difficult, but if we shy away from this then there’s a real risk that their unique needs will be overlooked and underserved by society. It’s incredible that the nine young survivors leading Bee The Difference are being given a global platform by the UN. I know they will inspire young voices to speak up.”
The Bee The Difference research team, who are all members of the Manchester Survivors Choir, have also been invited by the UN to perform at the Global Congress. They will perform a song written and composed for the event by Ellie Taylor from North Wales who was 15 and starting GCSEs when she was caught up in the 2017 attack.
The survey will be open until 17th October. Anonymised findings will be shared with organisations who can help to create better outcomes for young survivors: from government, to healthcare and education providers, to other civic and charitable bodies
To find out more and to take part in the Bee The Difference survey visit:www.nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk/beethedifferenceBack to News