Topic: Disasters, terror and stress management

Following the Utøya attack – who received early assistance?

Wiström, E. D., Stene, L. E., & Dyb, G. (2016). Following the Utøya attack – who received early assistance. Tidsskrift for Den norske legeforening, 136(14-15), 1223-1226. doi:10.4045/tidsskr.15.0691

This study discusses whether there were geographic differences in the help given to the Survivors of the Utøya attack.

BACKGROUND

Following the terror attack on Utøya on 22 July 2011, the Norwegian Directorate of Health recommended a proactive model of follow-up in the municipalities. According to this model, crisis teams were to rapidly contact the survivors, and all survivors were to be assigned a fixed contact person in the municipality. The aim was to ensure early assistance and continuity of follow-up. In this study we investigate whether there were geographical differences in the assistance measures provided.

MATERIAL AND METHOD

The study includes 321 of 495 survivors of the Utøya attack. The participants were interviewed 4 – 5 months after the terror attack. We studied whether there were differences in the proportion of survivors who received proactive follow-up and other health services based on health region or centrality of the municipality of residence.

RESULTS

The study showed that there were geographical differences in the health assistance provided, whereby a lower proportion of survivors received proactive follow-up in Oslo compared to the country as a whole. In Oslo, 66 % of the survivors reported that they had been contacted by a crisis team and 61 % that they had been assigned a contact person. In smaller central municipalities, 88 – 98 % reported contact with a crisis team and 85 – 91 % reported that they had been assigned a contact person.

INTERPRETATION

The findings must be seen in the context of the particularly severe effect on Oslo of the terror attacks on 22 July 2011. Organisational factors in the municipality may also have had an impact on the outcome.