Lorry attack in Berlin: support for people affected

This page provides information on the support available for those affected by the incident at the Berlin Christmas market on 19 December 2016.

The German police have issued a contact number +49 30 540 23 111 for people concerned, or +49 30 540 24 111 for people who may have relevant information.

If you were involved in any way and you wish to speak to consular staff in Germany please call the British embassy on +49 30 204570.

Compensation and financial support

The German government has announced a compensation scheme for victims of the Berlin attack. You can find further details about this, including an information sheet in English, on the German Federal Office (Bundesamt für Justiz) website.

Contact details for the Federal Office of Justice:

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) can consider applications for compensation under the Victims of Overseas Terrorism Compensation Scheme, for those bereaved or injured in terrorist incidents that have happened outside the UK. Anyone who has been directly affected by this incident can find out more about by calling the CICA helpline on 0300 003 3601. CICA can also provide advice about the interaction between this and the German scheme.

Disability and bereavement support

You may be entitled to financial support if you are injured or unable to work as a result of being involved in the attack. You can read more information about Carers and Disability Benefits, and financial help if you become disabled. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) also provides advice about a range of payments and benefits relating to bereavement.

Sources of support in the UK

Anyone feeling unwell, or overwhelmed and unable to cope as a result of their experience should speak to their GP or call NHS 111. Remember to tell them that you were in Berlin at the time of the attack.

There is more information in the NHS trauma leaflet (PDF, 50.2KB, 2 pages)

  • Victim Support can offer practical advice and emotional support. You can contact them through their free helpline on 0808 16 89 111.

  • Disaster Action – while the organisation no longer operates, their website has useful information to help bereaved people and survivors.

  • The Victims’ Information Service consists of a national information line enabling victims of crime to get information on their entitlements to support, and on local arrangements for the provision of support to victims. The information line will also provide immediate emotional and practical assistance when needed, whilst focused on getting victims to locally commissioned support as quickly as possible. You can contact the Victims’ Information Service on 0808 168 9293, which is free to call.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Initially when someone has been exposed to traumatic events and showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), they should be assessed by a General Practitioner (GP) who will then refer the patient on to a specialist service. For the first few weeks, the intervention from the professional providing mental health care is ‘watchful waiting’. This is because two thirds of people with PTSD recover in the first few weeks.

After that, the patient may receive psychotherapy, usually either Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitisation Therapy (EMDR). CBT tends to be useful for a wide range of mental health problems while EMDR is a treatment specifically designed for people with PTSD.

Both therapies can be provided through local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services, community mental health services or through Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Please note that in CAMHS, CBT is available in most places but EMDR is not commonly used in CAMHS.

For children and young people with PTSD, trauma-focused CBT is usually recommended. This will normally involve a course of 8-12 sessions that have been adapted to suit the child’s age, circumstances and level of development. Where appropriate, treatment will include consulting with and involving the child’s family. Treatment with medication is not usually recommended for children and young people with PTSD.

Published 20 December 2016
Last updated 12 January 2017 + show all updates
  1. Information added on German government compensation scheme.
  2. First published.