Victorian road users devastated by road trauma will now have greater access to counselling and support services with an enhanced interactive website providing free, educational information around the clock.
The Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV) website and online booking system aims to provide instant assistance for all Victorians in an effort to reduce the incidence and impact of road trauma.
Mill Park resident, Chris Latimer has four children, all of whom have been involved in major road crashes, including separate incidents that claimed the lives of three of her daughters.
All of Ms Latimer’s children were passengers and all were travelling short distances.
“It has been close to 20 years since my two teenage daughters were killed in a car crash, but that day will always remain so vivid in my mind,” she said.
“In the years that followed, my son was involved in a near fatal crash which left him with serious injuries and a near severed arm - the driver of the vehicle, a friend of his, was killed.
“Two years later, my 21 year old daughter was involved in a serious car crash which left her with a debilitating brain injury; she was unable to walk or talk after the crash and sadly passed away at the end of last year.”
Ms Latimer said she lives with the loss and trauma of the crashes every day, but it wasn’t until she was approached to share her story as part of a program run by RTSSV that she found a positive outlet to share her experience.
“Being able to speak about my children and their tragedy and to at least try to change the attitudes of road users gives me purpose and has been a big part of my recovery.”
RTSSV have recently received a $10,000 Slater and Gordon Community Grant for a new interactive website to facilitate greater access to the organisation’s free and unlimited supportive services.
CEO Cameron Sinclair said the aftermath of trauma can be distressing and unpredictable, and the task of finding help can feel overwhelming.
“Our aim is to equip people with the information and support, and educate other users about the very real impact road crashes have on families and communities across our state,” he said.
“This grant will allow us to develop a new website and online booking system that is user friendly and easy to navigate.”
Slater and Gordon General Manager Dina Tutungi said education was the key to addressing the attitudes and behaviours of road users.
“You don’t have to be in the car to have your life devastated by a road crash – it happens every year to families across Victoria, who lose a loved one,” Ms Tutungi said.
“As lawyers we can assist with aspects of the aftermath, but there is no compensation for a life and healing is a difficult day-by-day process.
“Everybody makes sense of tragedy in their own way, but many of my clients have said it helps to have a community, people to talk to and a way to contribute to prevention – RTSSV provides this and we are proud to support them.”