Coping with legal proceedings
The trial and public inquiry may understandably cause anxiety for those affected by the attack. The legal proceedings are likely to be widely covered by the media and may include distressing details and images.
While everyone copes differently with legal proceedings you may find it helpful to:
- find out about the purpose of the proceedings and how you can follow them if you wish to (see for example the inquiry website updates). If you have a police Family Liaison Officer or caseworker they may be able to keep you updated
- take steps to limit the risk of being caught off guard by the news, for example, by knowing the start date of proceedings and avoiding news bulletins on certain days
- tell your family, friends or others you know to alert them that major news may come up and how they can support themselves as well as you
- give yourself permission to either follow the details or not – some people find they wish to follow closely; others find the opposite works better for them and there are no golden rules
- anticipate that the attack may become a talking point at school/work/in your community and prepare for how you will respond to conversations and questions (it is OK to cut conversations short if you prefer and some people find it helpful to have some words ready in advance to help with this)
- learn what you can and can’t discuss on social media
- know who and where you can turn to for support if particular details or events upset you; it may help to ask them if they can be there for you especially at this time
- be kind to yourself and take time out if you need to. It can also help to make others close to you aware that the proceedings are in the news and that you would value their understanding and support
- know that you may learn new information which you may find upsetting or which may trigger unexpected reactions. In some cases further trauma therapy may be helpful to assist with processing this and developing coping strategies.