Bereavement following murder and manslaughter

The sudden death of a loved one can cause great grief and sadness. When a death is the result of murder or manslaughter you may face additional pain and experience difficulties resulting from media interest. Parents naturally want to shield their children from distressing details and often struggle to find the words to explain what has happened. 

The issues for a family are very complicated and the responses will depend on who has been killed and by whom - for example, a family member, someone known to the victim or a stranger. Shock and numbness may be the first response to what has happened and this can be mixed in with feelings of anger and a wish for revenge. There may be a sense of fear if the perpetrator has not been found and children will often have feelings of deep insecurity. 

Useful reading

'After a murder: a workbook for grieving kids' by Dougy Centre

Through the stories, thoughts and feelings of other kids who have experienced a murder, this hands-on workbook allows children to see that they are not alone in their feelings and experiences. The workbook includes drawing activities, puzzles and word games to help explain confusing elements specific to a murder, such as the police, media and legal system. 

‘Hope beyond the headlines: supporting a child bereaved through murder or manslaughter’ a Winston’s Wish publication

This booklet offers practical advice for families in the immediate days, weeks and months following a murder. It is written for both parents and professionals, giving them confidence to involve children and young people in understanding and managing the particular difficulties and complexities that so often surround a death by murder or manslaughter.

Other support and resources

Compassionate Friends
Support for parents following the death of a child from any cause.
Helpline: 0845 123 2304

Support After Murder & Manslaughter (SAMM)
SAMM is a national UK Charity providing support for families bereaved by murder and manslaughter. If you have been bereaved by murder or manslaughter you may find it difficult to make the first call, regardless of how long it is since you were bereaved. Perhaps you can ask a family member, a friend, or your Police family liaison officer to make the call on your behalf. 
0121 452 1618
0845 872 3440

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