Founded in 2011 in response to the need for a bereavement support program specifically for survivors of homicide by Christopher Ducharme, who is himself bereaved by homicide, The BC Victims of Homicide (BCVOH) is an initiative of the BC Bereavement Helpline that aims to provide support and strength to the families and friends of individuals who have survived the loss of a loved one by homicide. BCVOH networks with various government and non-government organizations to offer support to relatives and friends of homicide victims in the form of safe, unique 8-week guided support groups, training programs, grief retreats, and more across the province. Through our Helpline we also offer information and resources for caregivers helping victims of homicide.
Losing a loved one to homicide, whether it is a child, a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a close friend, a co-worker, or an acquaintance, is an extremely difficult experience for anyone to endure. Family members, friends, and the community at large are harmed when a murder is committed. If not well supported, those who experience loss through homicide may become another casualty of crime. Through our Homicide Grief Support Groups and our Traumatic Loss Facilitator Training [http://bcbh.ca/pages.php?pID=16], BC Victims of Homicide is helping those who have lost a loved one by homicide, as well as building capacity for others to offer their own Homicide Grief Support group in their community.
Homicide Grief Support Groups
Homicide is deliberately caused by another human being's actions, and results in the unnatural death of a loved one. The uniqueness of this type of death may bring about feelings such as overwhelming sadness, anger, vulnerability, lack of desire to do anything, anxiousness, irritability, inability to concentrate, numbness, confusion, sleeplessness and forgetfulness. By sharing and listening to others who have experienced a similar loss, survivors are able to connect with others who understand and have their feelings validated. Additionally, we help support group attendees in dealing with the feelings that arise when working with a police unit or the media.
Our eight-week support groups meet once a week for two hours and may include up to ten participants. Our trained facilitators are committed to providing:
- A safe, non-judgmental, compassionate environment with time for restorative sharing of stories and insights
- Essential grief and mourning survival tools to help survivors in their daily lives
- Practical support and information as well as valuable community connections
- A respectful space for honouring the life of the person who has died
The BC Bereavement Helpline acknowledges the financial assistance of the Province of British Columbia and the following partners:
Upcoming Homicide Grief Support Groups
Our next group will be in the Fall of 2020.
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one due to homicide and are interested in meeting others with a similar loss, please contact us to be put on the contact list for our next support group. Spaces are limited.
Time: two hours, on a weekday evening
Date: TBD weekly for 8 weeks
Capacity: 6 attendees
Location: Currently we are planning to offer an online group via the Zoom platform for the Fall of 2020.
Fee: $120*, subsidies are available. Please contact us for more information.
Facilitators: TBD. We strive to have at least one facilitator with lived experience.
Registration is required. If you are interested in attending this group, or would like more information, please call the Helpline at 604-738-9950, or toll free 1-877-779-2223, or you can email Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*BCBH/BCVOH uses fee income to help offset the cost of facilitator salaries.
Surviving the Loss
Participants from a homicide support group held at Valley View Funeral Home discuss their experiences with homicide loss, group support, and honouring their loved ones.
Testimonials from Participants
“We are not alone in our loss. Our stories are so different, but our pain and tears were the same”
“I felt very secure in telling my story and sharing more intimate details in a Homicide Support.”
“This group defined my grief and what to do to alleviate it.”
“I would recommend this group to others because I learned how others felt and how they handle their pain and I did not feel so alone.”
“I really enjoyed it and am a little sad that it’s over. I do feel more equipped to take care of myself now.”
“I felt it was valuable for all of us to learn each other’s stories and how each person handles their pain. The classes were well put together and I found that I learned more regarding P.T.S.D. and how to handle my stress better.”
“I would absolutely refer this group to others. Grief is huge and a group is bigger.”
“They [the facilitators] both came with similar life-altering traumatic experiences. It showed me that they have come this far and made it.”