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.
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.
The decision to commission our charity is recognition of the expertise and commitment of our staff and volunteers. Their skills and compassion have already helped hundreds of families to cope in the aftermath of losing a loved one, and they will go on to help thousands more people.
Victim Support will continue to work closely with its partners to ensure the support we give in each tragic case is tailored to the needs of the individual and that we provide a seamless service for them across the criminal justice system.
Notes to editors
For further information or to request an interview please contact the Ministry of Justice Press Office on 020 3334 3536.
The grant is made up of £2.75 million each year from the Ministry of Justice and £100,000 a year from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It will be in place until 31 March 2017 with a possible extension of up to 2 more years.
The figures on numbers of people using the service are from the period October 2010 to the end of April 2014.
For more information on the Homicide Service please contact the Victim Support press office on 020 7268 0202.