When a loved one is murdered, the grief is complicated and emotions such as anger and profound sadness are more intense and longer lasting than in other kinds of loss. The shock, horror and intentional cruelty of homicide throw us into acute turmoil for which there is no preparation.
If an arrest(s) is made, the family’s grief is prolonged and worsened due to bail hearings, legal wrangling, trials, appeals, parole hearings, and other proceedings - all under the glare of the media. If there are no arrests, the family experiences the anxiety and fear that the killer(s) will never be held accountable.
So much occurs in the aftermath of murder to cause family members to relive the horror over and over again. For many, the realization that the law is not black and white but shades of grey can lead to a feeling of further victimization which also complicates healthy grieving.
As each member of the family struggles with their own pain and grief, offering emotional support to the other members of the family network can be challenging. Not only must each member navigate their own feelings about the murder, they must also deal with the way their loved one died.
Under The Victim’s Bill of Rights, Manitoba Justice and law enforcement agencies across the province are responsible for providing services to victims of the most serious crime. MOVAworks co-operatively with Manitoba Justice to ensure that family survivors of homicide victims, who desire, have information, services and supports available to help ensure their rights are protected.
Based on interactions with family survivors of homicide victims, MOVA can offer invaluable insight on victims’ needs, not only to the victims themselves, but also to government. MOVA can:
Support people who call them for help after a homicide has occurred;
Arrange individual follow-up visits;
Accompany family survivors of homicide victims to court proceedings;
Inform family survivors of homicide victims of their options, rights and responsibilities throughout the court process from a victim’s perspective;
Refer family survivors of homicide victims to additional victim service agencies and counselling agencies;
Provide long term support for family survivors of homicide; and
Assist family survivors write a Victim Impact Statement.
MOVA can provide victims with a library of resource material collected from government agencies and private organizations. MOVA maintains an informative website with pertinent information as well as links to other agencies and helpful websites. MOVA conducts regular professionally facilitated sharing meetings for victims who need to talk to others who understand their journey.
MOVA creates public awareness of victims’ needs and concerns via public forums, speaking engagements and other public events.