3 April 2020

INQUEST are continuing to prioritise our advice and casework service. We are closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on investigations and inquests, liaising with investigation bodies and the Chief Coroner's Office, and speaking with lawyers and bereaved families to provide much needed support and clarity. Read more about how INQUEST is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you need help and advice after the death of a friend or relative in state care or custody contact our casework team.

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Below is a list of additional resources for practical and emotional support, with updates on the services that they are currently operating, that might be helpful at this time.

Please note that INQUEST is not responsible for the content of external websites linked to from this site and inclusion here does not mean endorsement.

Practical support and information


Updates from investigation and monitoring bodies

  • The Care and Quality Comission (CQC) have published information on the changes they have made to their approach to regulating services during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) have replaced their full inspections, lasting up to two weeks, with 'short scrutiny' visits, lasting one day. 

Other sources of support on inquests

  • Information on where to access victim and witness support services is available here.
  • It may also be possible to waive fees for applications to adjourn civil hearings due to coronavirus. More information is provided here.

Post-death processes


Mental health

  • The Samaritans have published information on how to protect your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak. They are no longer providing face to face support in their branches, but they are continuing to offer support by phone or email.
  • Mind has published information which includes guidance on work, benefits and housing. They continue to provide advice by phone but their centres have closed and they are unable to respond to emails.
  • The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) provides support to those bereaved by suicide, but has also produced tips on coping with coronavirus and staying well during self-isolation. Their helpline and webchat continue to operate.
  • Blurt has put together a comprehensive coronavirus hub, including information on managing mental ill health; guidance on money worries and caring during self-isolation; a list of the specific support available for NHS workers and support for children and parents (including a list of resources to support education from home). They also provide information on the support available in crisis.

Bereavement support

  • The NHS provides information on grief and bereavement.
  • Supportline provides a helpful list of organisations offering bereavement support, as well as information on bereavement by murder or suicide.
  • Cruse supports bereaved people, including those who have experienced traumatic bereavement. They are also providing support to those bereaved by the virus. The organisation continues to provide counseling and support via email and a free helpline.
  • Widowed and Young provides support to anyone who has lost a partner before their 51st. They have suspended their face to face appointments but have online support communities on their website and Facebook groups.

Bereavement by suicide

  • The Support after Suicide Partnership is a network of organisations which provides support to those bereaved by suicide. It publishes guidance on emotional support, practical support and support guides.
  • Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide have suspended their support groups, but continue to offer support to those who have experienced death by suicide via their helpline and email.

 Alcohol and drug misuse


The loss of a child

  • Child bereavement UK provides support when a baby or child (of any age) has died or is themselves bereaved. Their face to face and drop in services have been suspended but they continue to provide support digitally and by phone.

Prisons

  • The Ministry of Justice has released advice on visiting prisons and contacting prisoners during the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance also suggests using Twitter to keep up to date with prisons (@HMPPS and @MoJGovUK)
  • PACT provides support to prisoners and their families.
  • Prisoners’ families helpline provides advice and support on all aspects of court and prison, as well as a helpline.
  • The Prison Reform Trust have suspended visits to prisons and their telephone advice service, but still continues to provide a written advice service to people in prison. They also provide a helpline for family members and friends.
  • The Prisoner’s Advice Service continues to provide legal advice and support by email to those in prison and their families, but the service is currently prioritising support to those currently in prison. The service has also produced a template letter that families can use to call for the release of prisoners who should be released early on compassionate grounds. 
  • The Howard League of Penal Reform are regularly publishing updates on coronavirus as it affects prisons and policing. The office is currently closed, but general enquiries can be addressed to their email.
  • Women in Prison have suspended their group work and ‘drop in’ sessions at Women’s centres, but continue to offer one-to-one support by phone for women in prison, leaving prison and in the community. They also continue to work with partners in prisons, the probation service, health, local authorities and other services.

Mental health, learning disabilities and autism

  • Carers UK have produced guidance for carers.
  • POhWER and The Advocacy People are continuing to provide advocacy services remotely, but are unable to visit people and services in person.
  • Mencap have published information on coronavirus, including easy read resources.

Miscellaneous

  • The National Bereavement Alliance provides support and resources to people and organisations who offer support to bereaved people, including information on how to adapt services and manage resources during the coronavirus outbreak.

General information about COVID-19

COVID-19 updates

  • Keep Safe have written accessible and easy-read resources on keeping safe during the coronavirus outbreak.

Social distancing and keeping safe

  • Government guidance on how to keep yourself and your household safe during the coronavirus pandemic is available on the gov.uk website.

Mutual aid

  • Covidmutualaid.org provides a database of local mutual aid groups and community resources. Read more about covid mutual aid on the Guardian.

We know that this is a time of uncertainty and stress for everyone. This period may be particularly hard and isolating for those who have experienced traumatic bereavement, writes our Family Participation Officer, Mo Mansfield, in a blog to bereaved families.