``‘Family is a very important dimension in a kidnap response.``
Sue Williams; ordinary families in an extraordinary situation
Teaching participants on building and maintaining relationships and trust among family members in times of a crisis is something that is very close to the heart of Sue Williams.
‘Family is a very important dimension in a kidnap response.
It is all about relationships
By taking this relationship into account human suffering can be reduced. Family members can contribute to the response and you can guide them through the situation, because most people have no experience with a kidnapping of a loved one.
But it is not just about being nice, or doing the right thing in a case where people are going through hell. That is only one part of it. If we do not support the family they can talk to the media and chat with the whole world via email and social media in a counterproductive way. They can employ Micky Mouse security companies, bad people taking advantage of the situation just trying to squeeze money out of the victims.’
Every case is different
‘In fact there are no clear lines in regard to family support because every case is different. It is not a one size fits all approach. Important is that it is a two way strategy, a form of two way communication.
Devastation is what most people experience when they are confronted with a kidnapping. They enter a world that they do not know and they have no clue on where they are going. They are ordinary people finding themselves in an in an extraordinary situation, but there is still hope, because it is not the worst news they could probably get; their loved one is not dead.’
‘In the humanitarian sector we see quite often that close family members work for the same organisation. When a NGO person is kidnapped it is not unusual for the partner to be an employee of the same NGO. It takes a little bit more careful management. On the one hand you should treat them as a family member, but you should also see them as an employee. It is a fine line between the two positions.’
Sue Williams is experienced in negotiations concerning kidnappings, but what she has to say in the workshop does count for any kind of crisis a family might be going through. ‘One of the hardest things is dealing with dysfunctional families not living in harmony. It is an illusion to think that a crisis would naturally help them to unite and to close the ranks. In that case family support can be a tough job.’
Suzanne Williams qualified as a UK national police hostage negotiator many years ago. In that time she has contributed to the successful resolution of hundreds of kidnappings, hostage situations and has returned former hostages home from many parts of the world.