All service personnel nominate an Emergency Contact (EC) — the person they choose to be informed if they become a casualty. While this is normally their Next of Kin (NOK) it does not have to be. In the event of death MOD will also contact the NOK and attempt to ensure that both natural parents are informed even if the service person has not listed them as EC or additional emergency contact (ADDEC). These details are kept with the serving personnel's personal records.
When an incident resulting in a death or a casualty occurs, the unit is required to pass details of the casualty, in the shortest possible time, either electronically or by fax to the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) using a NOTICAS (Casualty Notification). The processes are explained by the Ministry of Defence on its pages for the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre.
The Next of Kin and the Emergency Contacts (as previously nominated by the deceased) are notified by a Casualty Notifying Officer (CNO). A Visiting Officer (VO) is then assigned to help the dependents. Role of the Visiting Officer The VO is not trained to offer bereavement support but becomes the longer term point of contact and is the link between the family and the various support agencies. The VO will visit the family and will provide Service-related help to those they have been appointed to look after. VOs are expected to provide this support for around to six to nine months. The main matters they will assist the family with are:
- Media contact.
- Attendance at any repatriation if the death was overseas on duty.
- Advising on the entitlements and practical organising required in respect of a funeral.
- Return of the Personal Effects of the deceased.
- Identifying and assisting with the life change administration which results from a bereavement.
- Memorials and Graves.
- Attendance at Inquest and other investigation related meetings.
They will also coordinate the activity of the key Service personnel who will provide specialist assistance such as Service Chaplain, Service Welfare Service and Ship, Unit or Station support agencies. Please be aware they may not be professional support officers or counsellors.
Service Personnel Veterans Agency
The country-wide Service Personnel Veterans Agency, Veterans Welfare Service (SPVA VWS) appoints a Welfare Manager. The Welfare Manager will visit in support of the VO to help the NOK to apply and obtain their entitled Service pension and /or compensation. Because they are locally based they are well versed in advising on most of the non-military aspect of the administration necessary after a death for example:
- completion of pension forms
- Death Certification
- local welfare support
- non service housing
- PAX insurance
- tax issues relating to a death.
You should be aware they are not financial advisors. The SPVA VWS is the long term point of contact for all Service related enquiries, although you will be provided details of other Service organisations which will be able to either satisfy your enquiry or pass you to the right organisation. Your VO will introduce your SPVA Veterans’ Welfare Manager (VWM) and they will work together to provide as much help as possible so do not hesitate to contact them at any time.
We have a series of films to help and inform bereaved families.
Advice on who to speak to or write to can be obtained from the SPVA.
VWS Telephone: 01253 333494 They will need your postcode to identify your VWM.
Advice on what to do after a death is also available through the Government's website.