Homicide and Grief

According to the National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children, 45,000 men, women, and children are victims of criminal homicide in the United States every year.

Assuming that there are approximately three survivors for every victim, over 130,000 people are traumatized by murder and are grieving this loss every year.

People who survive the loss of a loved one to homicide are at first met with traumatic crisis; they experience initial shock, turmoil, and numbness, followed by elements of grief that are unique to death by homicide. Survivors may face:

  • a stressful notification process,
  • possible need to identify the body,
  • immediate role changes,
  • unpredictable reactions from friends and family,
  • dealing with the criminal justice system and legal counsel,
  • and potential interactions with the media.

Coping with Your Loved One's Homicide

Several things can affect survivors’ ability to cope with their loved one’s homicide. These include:

  • the relationship of the survivor to the murder victim,
  • the survivor’s experience of personal vulnerability, anxiety, and compromised safety,
  • whether the survivor witnessed the event,
  • the nature and circumstances of the murder,
  • and the survivors’ relationship to the murderer.

Victim Advocate Organizations 

Becoming involved with a victim advocate organization is essential for survivors. Victim advocates can explore legal guidance and financial support for survivors.

Victim advocates can also connect survivors to other people who have suffered the same loss.

Often the most comforting source of support survivors can receive comes from others who have experienced homicide. These survivors have felt similar grief, intense anger, overwhelming loss, and have faced the unanswered question raised by what appears to be senseless.

Special Resources For Losing a Loved One to Homicide

Several things can affect survivors’ ability to cope with their loved one’s homicide. These include:

  • the relationship of the survivor to the murder victim,
  • the survivor’s experience of personal vulnerability, anxiety, and compromised safety,
  • whether the survivor witnessed the event,
  • the nature and circumstances of the murder,
  • and the survivors’ relationship to the murderer.

Victim Advocate Organizations 

Becoming involved with a victim advocate organization is essential for survivors. Victim advocates can explore legal guidance and financial support for survivors.

Victim advocates can also connect survivors to other people who have suffered the same loss.

Often the most comforting source of support survivors can receive comes from others who have experienced homicide. These survivors have felt similar grief, intense anger, overwhelming loss, and have faced the unanswered question raised by what appears to be senseless.

Special Resources For Losing a Loved One to Homicide

Support Groups

We offer a variety of support groups to homicide survivors. Support group sessions usually last eight weeks.

Please call 801-585-9522 for information on dates and locations.