Family Voices INQUEST works with a diverse group of bereaved families across England and Wales. We support families throughout the post-death process, and work to secure their access to truth, justice and accountability. In alliance with families, we have supported countless individuals to demand change through their engagement with the media and policy makers. Why are family voices important? Families are the bedrock of INQUEST’s work. Their experiences and views shape every aspect of our casework, policy and media work. Given families' direct involvement with the person who has died in custody/detention, or otherwise contentious conditions, they are best placed to highlight possible failures or issues surrounding that death. Family accounts help to build public awareness of the challenges facing the criminal justice, immigration, mental health system and other state services. How can families make their voices heard? There are a number of ways families can ensure their views are heard. Families can influence the decisions of policymakers and organisations, by participating in Family Listening Days run by INQUEST and can be interviewed by the media or give comment to journalists for a news article. They can also participate in our Family Forums. Write a blog for INQUEST A more informal way to speak about a loved one's death is to write a blog for our website. This can be a helpful way to express the emotional and practical difficulties of dealing with a death, its investigation, and the associated legal proceedings such as the inquest. These stories can also show other bereaved families that they are not alone, and can help change attitudes about people in prison, police custody, immigration and mental health care. If you want to write a blog please get in touch by contacting [email protected]. How to write a blog for INQUEST? Topic: The first thing to think about is what you want to talk about. You should narrow down the issues and think about three clear points you want to make. For example, do you want to talk about the care your relative received or your struggle to get properly funded legal representation at your inquest. Structure: You should aim for a blog around 600-800 words. Think about how you want to begin and end your blog. What is the first think you want a person to read, how will you draw them in? You can also include examples and how something made you feel as this will provide a more engaging account of the issues you want to flag. Example: “It was 10:00am on Thursday and I remember my head was racing with all kinds of thoughts” Tone: Always speak in the way you feel most comfortable, and try to be as simple and honest as you can be. Sometimes it is helpful to just write without stopping as this allows you to put all your thoughts down on paper before going back to edit it. Publishing: To ensure the final blog is clear and easy to read, we may edit it slightly. If you want your name, twitter handle and photo to be published alongside the blog please send us your details in an email.