Thousands of people bereaved by homicide will be able to access unprecedented levels of expert support, following the award of the £2.85 million Homicide Service grant, Victims’ Minister Damian Green has announced today.
The Homicide Service has been specifically designed to help families cope with the loss of a loved one through murder or manslaughter, and will ensure a range of emotional, practical and specialist support is available.
Run by Victim Support the service will assess each individual’s needs and offer specialist, practical and emotional help – from dedicated counselling to liaising with schools and employers, financial advice or help with childcare arrangements. The grant also, for the first time, includes peer support where people who have suffered a similar trauma can draw upon their own experiences to give first-hand support and assistance.
The Homicide Service will also provide support to families where the homicide has occurred abroad, including liaison with foreign judicial processes. Combined together, this will ensure the greatest level of care for bereaved families, both in the immediate aftermath and longer term after a death.
Victims’ Minister Damian Green said:
“Homicide is a most heinous crime that rips the heart from families, and often from a whole community. It is vital that there is specialist help and support available immediately after the death, but also moving forward to help those bereaved move on with their lives.
“In addition to making more money than ever before available to victims of homicide, both here and on foreign soil, we have increased the amount available to victims of crime across the board, with the aim to double what we currently spend.”
More than 4,800 people have received some form of help following the establishment of the current Homicide Service in 2010. As of February this year around 2,600 were still receiving support through the service.
The funding will be made up of £2.75 million per year provided by the Ministry of Justice and £100,000 from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to help those bereaved by a homicide abroad.
Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove said:
“The grief and pain of losing a loved one to homicide can never be fully healed.
“But this service can help those bereaved regain the strength they need to keep going – a day at a time.
“Victims tell me they want support at the right time and in the right way, both at home and overseas. I will be looking closely at whether this service is up to the standard they expect.”
Jeff Gardner, Director of Victim Support’s Homicide Service, said:
“Families bereaved by murder or manslaughter need specialist support to help them cope, to recover and ultimately to rebuild their lives.