The Home Secretary today backed a national campaign aimed at preventing young people from travelling to Syria and Iraq.
The campaign – ‘Families Matter’ – has been launched by Families Against Stress and Trauma (FAST), a community organisation which provides support to vulnerable families and individuals across the country.
It is designed to help young people considering travelling to the region to understand the fear and distress felt by those they leave behind. FAST also hopes the campaign will encourage concerned families to reach out and seek help.
The campaign centres on a short film produced by FAST, which features testimonies from three individuals who talk candidly about the pain and anguish they felt when a family member left the UK bound for Syria.
Dissuading young people from travelling to the conflict is a government priority. The Home Secretary is demonstrating her support by attending the film’s premier in London this morning. The Home Office will also be raising awareness of FAST’s initiative among community support organisations and women’s networks across the UK.
Endorsing ‘Families Matter’, Home Secretary Theresa May said:
This campaign addresses one of the most significant issues facing communities up and down Britain – the extremely damaging effect of young people choosing to travel to Syria and now Iraq.
While many may be motivated by a desire to help the country, the result and impact on these people, their families and often on the communities they are trying to support is very destructive indeed.
Over 400 UK-linked individuals have now travelled to Syria since the uprising began. Anyone travelling to Syria and Iraq is exposing themselves to serious risks and the government strongly advises against it.
It believes the best way to help Syrians is to donate or volunteer with UK registered charities that have ongoing relief operations. The government has committed over £600million worth of aid to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Syria. This is being used to provide essential food, clothes and medical supplies.