Families of homicide victims get support group
Those left behind can share their pain and unique experience in a safe setting
Alberta Justice is providing a one-year grant to a new support group for families of homicide victims.
The Calgary Homicide Support Society was established by two mothers who both had teenaged sons who were murdered.
"It would have maybe saved me those dark nights in my bedroom, trying to figure it out because I didn't know anybody. I thought I was the only one who'd lost a child," said Karen Venables.
Her son Devin was killed in 2002 after a single punch in an altercation he tried to walk away from.
Last year, Venables met Debbie Hogarth, whose son Joshua was stabbed to death. Venables says they connected instantly.
"It felt like I was meeting a friend even though we didn't know one another." said Venables."It came across very loud, very clear to your heart that she knows. She just knows."
While families of homicide victims are offered grief counselling, they are known to experience a unique range of emotions and need different types of support when coping with the death of their loved one, or loved ones, according to Alberta Justice.
The mothers realized the value for families to come together and share their experience, especially when it comes to attending traditional family events or marking holidays like Christmas or Mother's Day.
"When Karen and I first hugged I liken it to two broken hearts, we instantly connected because she got it," said Hogarth.
The Calgary Homicide Support Society will provide peer support open to all family members over 18. A forensic psychologist will offer mental and emotional support. Membership is free and the first meeting will be held in late June.