Supporting a child who has been bereaved through murder/manslaughter
Coping with a double blow
A death through murder or manslaughter delivers a double blow to families – not only do they have to cope with a sudden, unexpected death, they also have to deal with the way their relative has died. A family may feel very alone in their grief but, sadly, more people are bereaved through murder or manslaughter than most of us realise.
There are around 800 such deaths in England and Wales each year. Many of these will be of parents or siblings of children who are left overwhelmed and bewildered by what has happened. Government figures suggest that a child is bereaved through murder or manslaughter every single day. These children and young people are often the ‘hidden victims’ left to exist, survive, grieve and despair ‘behind the headlines’ – behind the sensationalism and media frenzy, behind the police investigations, inquests, court hearings, trials and appeals, and behind the trauma, shock and outrage of what has happened. These are ordinary children in extraordinary circumstances.
Beyond the headlines lies a future with hope for those children who receive timely and appropriate support. Information, advice and practical ideas in this booklet can be used to guide and complement the efforts of parents, carers, teachers, professionals and other agencies supporting a child or young person.
Winston’s Wish, the charity for bereaved children, is the leading authority on child bereavement and the largest provider of services to bereaved families in the UK. This booklet is the result of our experience over 20 years in supporting families bereaved in all ways, including those through violence.
The challenge for families and professionals is to try and help children feel involved, and understand enough to reach a time when they remember the person’s life more than the way they died.
To purchase a copy of our publication 'Hope Beyond the Headlines: Supporting a child bereaved through murder or manslaughter' please click here.
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