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Study finds a third of young arena attack survivors lack professional support

‘the simple act of validating young people’s views can make a huge difference to their wellbeing’

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A study has found that nearly a third of young arena attack survivors haven’t received any professional support.

Hundreds of young people were left physically and mentally injured as a result of the bombing in May 2017 — which killed 22 people.

They were out enjoying an evening at the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena on the night of May 22nd, six years ago, when Salman Abedi detonated a suicide bomb as it was coming to an end.

An online survey by Lancaster University and National Emergencies Trust (NET), in August 2022, found that professional support for victims in the aftermath was limited.

The study, of 236 young people affected by the atrocity, found that 29% had not had any psychological help, despite most feeling damaged by the blast.

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The vast majority of respondents said they needed support but 70% had no professional help within the first month, and nearly one in three had nothing in the first year that followed.

The study comes after the government is set to publish a draft ‘survivor’s charter’ in the next coming weeks which is said to guarantee key rights for survivors of terror attacks, and will include a timeline for mental health support for victims.

Three-quarters of the 236 young people involved in the report said they had been psychologically damaged by the blast, while nearly one in five had been injured or had friends or family members injured. About 4% had lost a relative or friend.

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The study, called Bee the Difference, was led by the National Emergencies Trust and researchers at Lancaster University. It calls for public bodies to ensure early support is visible and the onus is not on victims to find it, and that specialised trauma help is available wherever they are based.

The report urges professionals to understand that recovery can take time – one in four of the young people surveyed are still receiving psychological support — and that victims should be able to choose the right help for themselves.

The research was led by Dr Cath Hill, who also survived the attack. She said the findings showed that the ‘simple act of validating young people’s views can make a huge difference to their wellbeing, which was something all those in positions of care ‘could be more mindful of should the worst happen again’.

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She continued: “Equally, introducing the option of an official survivor status for children’s school or college records could prevent them from having to relive their trauma time and again.” 

Mhairi Sharp, Chief Executive of the National Emergencies Trust, said the report exposed a ‘a glaring gap’ in the understanding of how disasters affected children and young people.

“We can raise awareness with our partners so that there is less onus on future survivors to seek out support [and] also offer funding to those who would like to set up peer support groups,” she said.

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A Home Office representative said there was ‘practical and emotional support available to anyone impacted by terrorism, including a 24/7 support line, mental health assessments and referrals, and long-term peer support’.

They said the government had ‘worked to strengthen the support available to victims of terrorism, but we know there is still more to do’.

Adding: “The Home Office Victims of Terrorism Unit is currently conducting an internal review into the support package provided to victims of terrorism, to better address their needs following a terrorist attack.” 

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Man arrested after mum pushing pram stabbed and killed in broad daylight

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder

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Police have arrested a 25-year-old man wanted for the fatal stabbing of a woman while she was pushing her baby in a pram in Bradford.

Police have arrested a suspect, following the murder of Kulsuma Akter, 27. Akter was stabbed several times in the Westgate area of Bradford city centre on Saturday afternoon. 

The mother was rushed to hospital, where despite the best efforts of medics, she sadly succumbed to her injuries. Her baby was unharmed in the incident.

It has also emerged that suspect, Habibur Masum, was on bail for assaulting and threatening to kill her at the time of the attack.

West Yorkshire Police

Masum was conditionally bailed by Manchester Magistrates’ Court in November, despite prosecutors objecting to his release, it is understood.

Court documents show Masum, whose address was listed as Oldham, Greater Manchester, was charged with assaulting Ms Akter on November 23rd and threatening to kill her on November 24th.

Both incidents are alleged to have happened in Greater Manchester. Police had previously confirmed the couple were known to each other but have not confirmed their relationship. 

Masum attended a hearing on November, 27th 2023, where he pleaded not guilty to both offences and was ordered not to contact Ms Akter, it is understood.

West Yorkshire Police

His bail conditions also prevented him from contacting a second person, or visiting a particular address.

Greater Manchester Police has said it is supporting West Yorkshire Police with the ongoing murder investigation.

Both forces have referred themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct watchdog over previous contact with Masum and Ms Akter.

Detective Superintendent Jude Holmes, from GMP Oldham district, said: “We share the shock and concern that our communities feel in the wake of this tragic incident, and our thoughts are with Kulsuma Akter’s family at this truly distressing time.

“Habibur Masum is wanted by West Yorkshire Police on suspicion of murder. Due to his links to Greater Manchester, we have our specialist officers following several lines of enquiry to locate him.

“I urge members of the public to remain vigilant, and if you have any information on his whereabouts, call 999 as a matter of urgency.

“Due to previous police contact with Habibur Masum and Kulsuma Akter, Greater Manchester Police has made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.”

Police have arrested a 25-year-old man on suspicion of murder. A 23-year-old man was also arrested in Cheshire on suspicion of assisting an offender.

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Hunt for murder suspect after mum pushing pram killed in broad daylight

It is not clear whether is Masum is armed as police warn not to approach him

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Police are searching for a man from Oldham after a mum was stabbed to death in Bradford while pushing her baby in a pram.

Habibur Masum, 25, is wanted over the attack which took place in the Westgate area of Bradford at 3.21pm on Saturday (April 6th).

The victim, a 27-year-old woman, suffered multiple stab wounds and was taken to hospital where she sadly died of her injuries, West Yorkshire Police said.

West Yorkshire Police

The force also confirmed the baby was not harmed in the attack as the public is warned not to approach Masum.

It is understood Masum was known to the victim although police have not confirmed their relationship at this time. A knife was found at the scene but it is unclear if he is armed.

Masum was pictured on CCTV wearing a grey hooded, zip-up coat with three large horizontal lines of grey, white and black on it, grey tracksuit bottoms with a black logo and burgundy trainers. 

West Yorkshire Police

A witness also reported seeing him wearing a grey hoodie with the hood up shortly after the incident on Westgate, at the junction with Drewton Road.

Masum is from Oldham and is believed to have links to Burnley and Chester. He is described as an Asian man, of slim build.

Detective Chief Inspector Stacey Atkinson said: “We have had significant resources following up a number of lines of inquiry to locate Habibur Masum but at this time his whereabouts are unknown.

“I would urge anyone who does see him not to approach him but to call 999 immediately.”

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She said the death of such a young woman in the ‘most awful circumstances’ will ‘understandably cause concern in the local community’.

Detective Chief Inspector Atkinson Added: “I would like to reassure the wider public that we are working tirelessly to investigate this horrendous crime and bring the person responsible to justice.

“To help us with this we are urging anyone who was in the area who may have dashcam footage or seen or heard something, however small it may seem, to please come forward.

“A scene remains in place which includes some road closures and I thank the public for their patience while we conduct our enquiries.”

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Man arrested in murder investigation after human torso found in Salford nature reserve

A man in his 20s is being questioned by police

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A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a human torso was found wrapped in plastic in a nature reserve in Salford.

As detectives continue to investigate the discovery of human remains found by a passerby on Thursday, April 4th, a man in his 20s from Salford was taken into custody on Saturday evening for questioning, Greater Manchester Police say.

DNA testing is being carried out to determine the identity of the victim, who is believed to be a male ‘likely to be aged older than 40’ and ‘has only been deceased for a matter of days’, officers say.

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GMP says it is conducting a thorough search of the area by utilising local officers and specialist branches including search dogs and assistance from underwater search teams, to help comb the site.

The force says although it has ‘not found anything else that is of interest to the investigation’, ‘work will not stop’ until it is certain the area has been thoroughly searched.

Chief Superintendent Tony Creely, of GMP’s Salford district, said: “The arrest we made yesterday evening is an important step for our investigation, but we must keep an open mind and a big part of this is speaking to anyone who may have crucial information.

“As we continue to work in the area, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the public for their concern and cooperation so far, and we are mindful this is a disturbing incident for the local community, but I can assure you that since we were made aware, we’ve been pursuing every single line of enquiry to help us find out what has happened.

“I cannot stress the importance of people contacting us with information if they know anything at all. You may have information that you don’t feel is of importance, but it could be to us, please pass it on, it could be the key piece of information we need to progress this investigation.”

Anyone who thinks they may have witnessed something suspicious in the Kersal Dale area over the last few days is urged to call GMP on 101 and quoting log number 2695 of April, 4th 2024.

A dedicated portal for anyone to submit images or video footage which could help police can be found HERE.

 

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