'Finding Your Way' - a guide for families of road traffic victims
Some comments from bereaved families
20th July 2020 - Message of thanks from Co Armagh family
“I lost my beloved sister in a tragic road traffic collision. I was so traumatised that I could not find the words to ask what happened. I am very grateful to An Garda Siochana for posting me a copy of PARC's booklet 'Finding Your Way' - a guide for families of road traffic victims. The booklet was such a help and comfort to me.
Susan and her colleagues in PARC have written it in plain and simple language which I could understand. It really helped me to clarify my thoughts and understand the process of an investigation. I spoke to Susan and she was so helpful and compassionate and guided me to understand what I should ask and what would happen next. I am very grateful to this lovely lady who gave of her time to help me in my distress. She is to be highly commended for her dedication to helping others and on publishing this information booklet to help and support other people in tragic circumstances such as mine”.
Thank you so much
Co Armagh family
"Just wanted to say a massive thank you for your support after the tragic loss of my husband in January. Your prompt response to sending out copies of the 'Finding Your Way' booklet, your emails and telephone calls, have helped both myself and my family during this devastating time. Your booklet has given us invaluable information as regards the various stages of the processes involved, without which we would have been lost. Sincerest thanks"
Loraine – Co.Tipperary
"Without the PARC 'Finding Your Way' booklet we would have been truly lost and would not have known what to expect"... These are the words of Christopher Fitzgerald's wife and daughter when describing to us how helpful our guide was to them following his tragic death on a road traffic collision in 2018.
Co Offaly Family
“The PARC Road Safety Group’s information guide ‘Finding Your Way’ really has been a great help to our family after my brother was killed in a road crash. I wouldn’t have known a lot about many entitlements to information and meetings if it wasn’t for this booklet. Thanks”.
Co Meath family.
To Susan and all involved in PARC
"After the death of our beloved Brian in a Road Traffic Collision, we started looking for answers. We would like to express our sincere thanks to all at PARC. The booklet PARC created "Finding Your Way" has been a great source of practical information at a time in our lives when we did not know where to turn . The support and assistance we have received from PARC has been invaluable."
The Regan Family, Galway
“Following the tragic deaths of Geraldine and Louise in a road traffic collision, we were given the PARC Road Safety Group’s "Finding Your Way" booklet by our Garda Family Liaison Officer. The booklet is a fantastic resource which explains the complexities of the legal system surrounding road traffic collisions in a simple to understand format. The booklet guided us through what was an extremely overwhelming and confusing time.
We can't thank PARC Road Safety Group enough for their support and guidance. Through their hard work and lobbying, they assisted us in our successful efforts to change the laws regarding car owners who knowingly allow their car to be driven by an unaccompanied learner driver. This change in law is estimated to save 15 lives a year.
Clancy Family, Co. Cork
“In the days following our son Karl Robertson’s death in 2017, our Garda Liaison Officer gave us a booklet called “Finding Your Way” from the organisation PARC. This booklet was invaluable to our family. This was a whole new world to us and we didn’t understand anything that was happening with regards to the investigation and we didn’t know what to expect. Anytime any of us had a thought or question regarding anything to do with the investigation, we would go straight to the book and always find an answer, or it would guide us in the right direction.
Tony, Cathy Niamh and our extended family would like to thank PARC for all you have done for us, following the death of our beautiful Karl. PARC have been a tower of strength to us and we are eternally grateful to you”.
The Reid Family, Co. Dublin
" The Finding Your Way guide was one of the most useful booklets I have used since the tragic death of my sister. The guide has allowed me to understand the meaning of all of the processes that come along with the death of a loved one, in simple Plain English language. This booklet is not just a guide that I have read once, I refer to it on a regular basis. PARC Road Safety Group is one of the most genuine, supportive and understanding group of individuals. They devote themselves to helping grieving families all over Ireland, families who have lost loved ones through road traffic collisions".
Co. Carlow family
" Finding Your Way has been an excellent guide for our family. It gave us a very good insight following the death of Paul aged 16 due to a traffic collision. In our opinion this booklet should be given to everyone caught up in these circumstances. Forever grateful, Paul's Grandmother, ,
“Our family found the ‘Finding Your Way’ booklet to be a great guide on what to expect following the tragic death of our mother. No other resource explains in detail, what to expect and who to turn to for information. This to us was invaluable….”
Co. Meath family
“Over two years ago we got in touch with PARC as a result of the tragic loss of our daughter Mary and unborn granddaughter Mollie in a road traffic crash. The help they have been and still are in relation to us finding out the truth, and that is all we want, has been invaluable. When you are at your lowest, the help and guidance we got, the information as to what you are entitled to - from the Finding Your Way booklet could never be valued. It allowed us to open doors that we didn’t even know were there….."
Co. Waterford family
"My family and I have received much help from the PARC road safety group and especially the PARC booklet. This guide is full of helpful and useful information and contact telephone numbers - the best free booklet we ever read. Many thanks.”
Co. Tipperary family
" We found this booklet very useful as some family members were finding the process complicated to follow, due to shock, the information wasn't being retained so this guide helped greatly. It was also a great source of other avenues/services to seek if we need them….”
Co. Cork family
"The Finding Your Way guide was a great source of information and guidance at the darkest time in our lives. We found it especially useful regarding what to expect when the inquest was coming up and the importance of engaging a solicitor. It is a great source of information on every aspect of what to expect after the loss or serious injury of a loved one. It outlines in a very straight forward way the steps involved in the court procedures."
Co. Monaghan family
"My search for truth has been greatly assisted by this booklet produced by PARC road safety group."
Co. Cork family
"After we lost our only son in a traffic collision I started looking for answers as to the circumstances surrounding his death. I was fortunate enough to come across an organisation called PARC. Their information booklet 'Finding your Way' is invaluable at this time of great distress and upset as we proceed towards an inquest."
Co. Cavan family
" The Finding Your Way booklet allows you to have an understanding of procedures to a situation you wish had never happened, but the assistance given goes some way to dealing with a bureaucratic process, an extremely useful read,"
Co. Donegal family
“Everyone who is been involved, after a road traffic collision should read ‘ Finding Your Way’. Its relevant practical and very useful information.”
Co. Cork Family
A note received by one of the writers of the PARC booklet
"I just wanted to send my thanks to you for forwarding your booklet to me. I must say it is so heartening to see how you have managed to turn a personal tragedy into a way to benefit others by researching and publishing what I'm sure must be a Godsend to many people caught up in a terrible situation. It put me in mind of the saying that "We cant direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude." You are an example to us all. Again my thanks.
Co. Dublin family.
Testimonials from An Garda Síochána
Click here to see testimonial from Garda Commissioner Drew Harris
Commendation from the Assistant Commissioner in Roads Policing for PARC's guide
“The death or serious injury of a loved one as a result of a traffic collision is one of the most traumatic and difficult experiences in anyone’s life. It is equally upsetting for the Gardaí who have to call on family homes to break the devastating news about loved ones. Those early moments spent in the home are always filled with anguish and heartbreak. The questions ‘how’ and ‘why’ invariably arise and while the lives of those left behind must go on, they will never be the same.
It is the days and weeks after that horrific day, that questions become more pronounced and the investigating Garda who often breaks the news, is now supported by a specially trained Garda Family Liaison Officer (FLO) whose duty it is to support the family and keep them informed throughout the investigation.
A huge support to families and to Garda Family Liaison Officers is the guide researched and written by the victim support and road safety group PARC and published in 2012. It is kept updated by their members. This guide is called ‘Finding Your Way – a guide for families of victims following the death or serious injury of a loved one in a road traffic collision’. It guides the victims through a series of steps from the Garda investigation through to the legal proceedings that may follow. It encourages the families to ask the appropriate questions empowering them to know their rights and to access information regarding their loved one’s death or serious injury.
Such is the esteem in which PARC’s guide is held by An Garda Síochána that all FLOs in the service are issued with copies and it is Garda policy that they deliver them to families in their care.
PARC’s guide is not only forward thinking and informative but a poignant reminder that the collision is often only the start of a very convoluted and stressful process for the family – a process when followed through will get answers for families and help them to heal”.
David J. Sheahan,
Roads Policing and Major Event Management.
17th April 2020
Testimonial from Garda Inspector Michael Harrison Donegal Roads Policing
“There is one thing a family looks for in the aftermath of a fatal collision and that is answers. “How did it happen and why?” From the feedback I get from family liaison officers (FLOs) the PARC “Finding Your Way” Guide gives family’s a reference document where if they have a question they can look at it and in most occasions the answer will be provided or the guide will tell them how to look for the answer. This Guide is an invaluable resource for families and FLOs working together to deal with the dreadful grief of losing a loved family member in a fatal road traffic collision.”
Garda Inspector Michael Harrison
Roads Policing Inspector Donegal
28th April 2020
Testimonials from Public Figures
Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald (2014-2017)
“PARC’s commitment to road safety and their advocacy and support for individuals bereaved and injured by collisions on our roads is to be applauded. Their dedication is evidenced in the production and publication of ‘Finding Your Way’, an invaluable information source and practical guide for people who have found themselves affected by a road traffic collision.
‘Finding Your Way’ outlines what is involved in the investigation of fatal and serious injury collisions and the legal proceedings which follow. By doing so it seeks to ease the burden on families devastated by such collisions, and I welcome its distribution by Garda Family Liaison Officers, as part of the assistance they provide.
As a society we need to work together to improve all aspects of road safety, including the experience of those suddenly and traumatically affected by a collision. PARC’s contribution to this goal is extremely valuable, and as Minister for Justice and Equality I congratulate them on the publication of this updated edition.”
Ms Frances Fitzgerald T.D. Minister for Justice and Equality
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan (2014-2017)
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe (2014-2016)
“I wish to commend PARC for undertaking the extensive work involved in putting together Finding Your Way. This new edition expands on and updates the information provided in previous versions. It is exactly the kind of practical information that people need at very sensitive and vulnerable periods of their lives when they have lost loved ones through road collisions.
I’m sure the pain at those times is sufficient burden to bear without having the trouble of finding out where to turn for advice and direction on the practical matters that need to be addressed.
The booklet is a useful guide for people in relation to issues and tasks that they thought and hoped they would never have to deal with. PARC has performed a tremendous service for the people bereaved in these unfortunate circumstances.”
Minister for Health Leo Varadkar (2014-2016)
“We all know about the human cost of serious injuries or death on families and on society. But every serious incident also has a significant impact on our medical system.
Every collision has the potential to involve the National Ambulance Service, one or more Emergency Departments, and numerous medical staff. It may require immediate surgical intervention, or many years of rehabilitation. There is also the mental health impact on survivors, or the families of the bereaved.
I took a very close interest in road safety during my term as Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport and was in regular contact with Susan Gray and PARC. I can say confidently that PARC is one of the most effective lobby groups in the country, and certainly one of the most important.
Susan and her colleagues work tirelessly to raise road safety awareness, improve standards and close loopholes in legislation. Most recently, the group's volunteers took time out to monitor judicial practices in courtrooms across Ireland.
This new 'Finding Your Way' document is typical of the valuable work conducted by PARC. It will be a great help to anyone unfortunate enough to experience a road traffic collision. It's a fine example of the high standard of work and selfless commitment of PARC.
I look forward to seeing many more years of valuable work performed by Susan Gray and her colleagues.”
Mr Gay Byrne Chairperson of The Road Safety Authority (2006-2014)
"PARC is a not for profit Road Safety Advocacy group providing support services for those affected by road traffic collisions in Ireland. PARC through its membership provides sympathetic counsel to those families who have lost loved ones and are attempting to navigate through the personal, social and legal consequences of a road traffic death. PARC have put together an excellent booklet ‘Finding Your Way – A guide for families of victims following the death or serious injury of a loved one in a road traffic collision’ which provides the reader with valuable information that has been put together by those who have themselves been touched personally by the loss of a loved one so tragically on the road".
“As a Nation, Irish people have made great strides in reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads.
Please remember that behind each number are real people - people whose life may have ended, or have been badly broken. And, I would like to dwell for a few moments, if I may, on those broken lives - the lives of people who have been left behind or those who have experienced the devastation of a crash, and survived, and who must go on living. The first shocking impact never ends for the individuals themselves, their families, their carers and the communities around them.
We all have a responsibility to share the roads safely and in doing so, together, we can save lives. I am always pleased when organisations such as PARC take on the responsibility to provide support and guidance to those who find themselves in the devastating position following the death or serious injury of a loved one in a crash. It is comforting to know that there is support out there for people at a time when they need it most.”
Mr Gay Byrne Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority
Mr Noel Brett CEO Road Safety Authority (2006-2013)
“I am very grateful to PARC for the assistance you have given to the numerous families who have lost a family member on Irish roads whom I have referred to you. The Road Safety Authority greatly appreciates the ‘Finding Your Way’ guide for families which is posted on the Road Safety Authority’s website. As I have previously explained to you this will now form the basis of a statutory guide in Ireland. Your lobbying work with Government, individual Ministers and with the Irish police force has been hugely successful in shaping legislation, policy and responses to road collisions and survivors. I thank you very much for PARC’s continued hard work and support.”
Mr Thomas Broughan TD (1992-2020)
To Whom It Concerns
“I have had the privilege of working closely with PARC as former Spokesperson on Transport for the Labour Party and now as an Independent TD. PARC members, led by Ms Susan Gray, have all experienced horrific personal tragedy in their own lives through the death in a road collision of a close family member. However, this extraordinary group of people have risen above the unimaginable tragedies that have afflicted their families and have gone on to lead an outstanding national campaign to make Irish roads safer for all motorists and road users. They work vigorously to ensure that other families do not suffer in the same manner
because of a fatal or serious road collision.
PARC continues to lead a number of invaluable national and local campaigns on road safety that have significantly raised the profile of road safety and the impact of road deaths and serious injuries on Irish families, including the development of the very useful guide for families of victims of road traffic collisions entitled ‘Finding Your Way’. The guide provides an outline of the steps involved in the professional Garda investigation of fatal and serious injury collisions and the legal proceedings which follow. These include the post mortem, inquest and legal proceedings which as PARC have noted can often be complex and confusing for bereaved families. I was hugely impressed by PARC’s work in preparing this invaluable guide.
PARC have been involved in a number of key campaigns to update road traffic legislation in a number of critical areas, including mandatory testing of all drivers involved in a serious collision and bringing Irish drink driving laws into line with best international practice. They have also been involved in highlighting ineffective enforcement of road traffic laws in the State and they have been constructively working with the Departments of Transport and Justice and Equality, Dáil Deputies, the Courts Service and An Garda Síochána to try to ensure that laws enacted are fully enforced.”
Mr Thomas Broughan T.D.
“PARC Road Safety Group is a non- governmental voluntary organisation which advocates for improved road safety policies and provides support for road victims and their families.
Typical of their understanding of the needs of those who have lost a loved one and their attention to detail is their guide ‘Finding Your Way’ which provides guidance to families who have lost a family member as a result of a car crash or had a family member seriously injured. PARC members had to find their own way and now through their guide share the benefit of their experience to help others who have lost a loved one in a car crash.
The guide is written in plain English and a style that makes it very understandable. It provides an outline of the steps involved in the Garda investigation, the post mortem, the inquest and the court cases.
It empowers families to ask the right questions and to know their rights. It is also an invaluable aid to health professionals, who have to provide support to families at these difficult times, particularly those working in Emergency Departments and Family Doctors.”
Dr Declan Bedford
Specialist in Public Health Medicine
Sgt. John Reynolds PhD
Crime and Operational Training Faculty, Garda Síochána College, Templemore, Co Tipperary
‘Finding Your Way’
“This booklet explains the role of the Garda Family Liaison Officer during the investigation of a fatal road traffic collision in a clear and informative way. Copies of ‘Finding Your Way’ are given to each Family Liaison Officer (FLO) and each Family Liaison Coordinator (FLC) during training.
This ensures that they will be aware of the importance of gathering information from the family in a sensitive manner which contributes to the investigation. It also ensures that the Liaison Officer will keep the family updated on developments in the investigation and on the court proceedings and tell the family about support agencies.”
The Law Society of Ireland
“The ‘Finding Your Way’ guide - this is an incredibly useful guide written from the perspective of people who have been involved in road traffic collisions or have experienced the loss of a relative. It outlines the steps involved in garda investigations, inquests, post-mortems and civil and criminal cases and provides links to further information. It aims to help victims ask the right questions, know their rights and where to go to seek information. The Law Society Gazette strongly recommends that solicitors’ offices throughout the country should carry copies of this publication for clients who are victims of road traffic collisions.”
Deputy Tommy Broughan TD
PARC Leading Lights Road Safety Award 2008: See PARC Leading Lights Awards Page