Our Blog

Grief associated with death through homicide (murder)

Homicide is a crime that has a profound and lasting impact on the victim’s family and friends. The grief that people experience in relation to death through homicide may be intense due to its sudden and violent nature.

People can feel further distressed by having to deal with the police, the media, the coroner and other organisations.

The fact that someone has taken the life of the deceased can evoke strong feelings of anger and a desire for justice.

Impact On Families

The effect a homicide has on individuals and families may be long-lasting and many aspects of life may be impacted. These may include personal relationships, work, social life, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, values, and beliefs about the world.

It is also important to remember homicide has an effect on children or young people in the family and that their lives will be affected too.

When families and friends initially learn of the violent death of a loved one they often experience intense shock due to the sudden and unexpected nature of the death. Families are also trying to deal with the police, media, the coroner, and funeral directors, and this can be extremely confusing and foreign.

It is often at this stage that families require a lot of practical assistance such as dealing with every-day tasks, liaising with other agencies involved, notifying other family and friends, and organising the funeral. Dealing with all of this as well as trying to comprehend the loss of a loved one can feel overwhelming.

People may also experience intrusive thoughts about the violent way in which the person died; these can be graphic and intense. These thoughts may be about how they imagine the person died and/or suffered, or actual memories from the scene of the crime or morgue. Also people may feel that their own safety is at risk.

As time goes on the full impact of the loss is felt and deep emotions such as sorrow, fear, anger, and guilt are experienced. People begin to understand what the death of their loved one means and how much they miss them.


Every individual’s experience of grief is unique, although several common experiences have been identified:

  • for the family of homicide victims, the grief reaction may be more intense as there are other issues they must deal with
  • often families of homicide victims feel isolated and alone. Society places some of the blame on victims and attaches stigma to the death
  • many people bereaved though homicide also feel as though no-one understands the depth of their grief, and have unrealistic expectations of the time it takes to heal
  • for families where the body of the loved one has never been located there may be ongoing issues that cannot be resolved

Dealing With The Police

Dealing with the police can be difficult for families, particularly in the early stages when people are in shock, confused, and trying to cope with their loss.

The police may have apprehended someone for the murder or may still be investigating. Either way, the police will need to have contact with people closest to the victim to provide information or to gain information to assist with their investigations.

The police may not be able to give out all of the details due to their ongoing investigation, and they may also regard some people as suspects, which can be very difficult to cope with.

It is important that people identify someone or several police officers who can be contacted to provide accurate and clear information.

Dealing With The Coroner’s Office

The police may need someone to identify the body of the victim and this normally happens at the morgue or forensic science centre. This can be particularly difficult for families as they may not be adequately prepared for the experience, the victim may have physical injuries, and no-one may be allowed to touch or spend time with the body.

An autopsy or postmortem will also be performed to establish the cause of death which may be traumatic for families and can mean a delay in the release of the body and hence, may delay the funeral.

Dealing With The Media

When someone is murdered the media want to report the details to the public. This can mean that the family is approached for a comment, a photograph of the deceased, and further information about what happened.

The media can be persistent in their endeavours to obtain information, which can create more stress for families. They can also print inaccurate information or appear to blame the victim, which can be distressing.

Sometimes media coverage is important to assist with the police investigation or when a person is missing.

The media may print further reports on the case after court hearings, the trial, if the offender applies for early release, or even years later when the offender is released. They may also refer to the case if a similar one occurs. These reminders may raise feelings of pain and grief.

Dealing With The Criminal Justice System

If the police have apprehended someone for the murder then there will be court hearings and possibly a trial:

  • most people have never had to deal with the courts and have little knowledge or experience about how they work. It can seem frustrating, as there are often many delays, a lack of information, and few rights for the victim and the victim’s family
  • families will have to decide if they want to attend the court; whilst it is often difficult, it may be important in the long-term
  • some people may feel frustrated as they believe that the punishment the offender received is not adequate for the life they have taken and the lives they have affected

For homicide victims’ families, dealing with the criminal justice system can be a frustrating and drawn-out process:

  • people may need support, information, and assistance throughout the court process
  • there may also be ongoing issues such as the release of the offender from prison, parole, seeing the offender in the street, and so on
  • similarly, if no offender is found guilty, people might feel that there is no justice

The Funeral

Funerals are an important part of the grieving process as they provide a ritual to say goodbye to the deceased in a meaningful way. Sometimes in the case of a homicide where the victim has sustained injuries, people are not encouraged to view the body. However, this may be particularly important to some people and is the last opportunity to see the person. Therefore, careful consideration should be given to this decision.

It can often be very difficult for families when there is a delay in the release of the body of their loved one from the coroner’s office.

In addition, if no offender has been identified, the police may be present at the funeral and the media will probably attempt to get a story. Police attendance can feel like an invasion of privacy but may be necessary for the police investigation.

Coping Strategies

With time, people do learn to cope with such a traumatic event. Support is often the key to helping people get through this experience:

  • support can be provided by trusted friends and family, or through counselling or support groups
  • another important aspect is receiving accurate and clear information, so informed and appropriate decisions can be made
  • other strategies such as relaxation, writing a journal, having time out and so on may also help but it is often an individual choice about what helps

Other Resources

Victim Support Service SA
Beyond Blue
Homicide Victim Support Group of SA Inc


Page last updated: 17 September, 2019

comments (139)

  1. Great V I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs as well as related information ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, web site theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Excellent task..

  2. With almost everything that appears to be building within this specific subject matter, all your perspectives are actually fairly exciting. However, I beg your pardon, but I can not subscribe to your whole suggestion, all be it refreshing none the less. It seems to everyone that your remarks are not entirely rationalized and in actuality you are generally your self not really completely convinced of the assertion. In any case I did take pleasure in reading it.

  3. Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with SEO? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good success. If you know of any please share. Thank you!

  4. I think that is one of the most significant information for me. And i’m happy studying your article. But should remark on few basic things, The site style is ideal, the articles is in point of fact great : D. Good job, cheers

  5. I’m still learning from you, but I’m making my way to the top as well. I definitely enjoy reading everything that is posted on your site.Keep the information coming. I liked it!

  6. Heya just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same results.

  7. obviously like your website but you have to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth nevertheless I will certainly come back again.

  8. Hello my family member! I wish to say that this article is amazing, nice written and come with approximately all significant infos. I’d like to peer extra posts like this .

  9. certainly like your web site but you need to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very bothersome to tell the reality nevertheless I?¦ll certainly come back again.

  10. I have been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this site. Reading this information So i am happy to convey that I have an incredibly good uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I most certainly will make certain to do not forget this site and give it a look regularly.

  11. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Appreciate it!

  12. It is actually a nice and useful piece of info. I’m happy that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  13. It¦s in point of fact a nice and useful piece of info. I¦m happy that you just shared this useful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Hello my family member! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice written and include approximately all significant infos. I¦d like to peer more posts like this .

  15. It is really a nice and useful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Hello very nice blog!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds additionallyKI’m glad to find a lot of helpful info here within the submit, we’d like work out extra strategies on this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  17. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find many of your post’s to be exactly I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content for yourself? I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write concerning here. Again, awesome web site!

  18. Hello there, I discovered your web site by the use of Google even as looking for a related subject, your website came up, it seems great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  19. Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the net the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  20. “Having read this I thought it was very enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!”

  21. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this fantastic blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  22. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Superb work!

  23. I’ve been surfing on-line greater than 3 hours as of late, but I never discovered any fascinating article like yours. It is pretty value sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made excellent content as you probably did, the internet might be a lot more useful than ever before.

  24. I’m not positive where you are getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend a while learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic information I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

  25. Hello, Neat post. There’s a problem together with your web site in internet explorer, would test thisK IE still is the market leader and a large element of folks will miss your great writing due to this problem.

  26. Hi there, simply became aware of your blog through Google, and located that it is truly informative. I’m gonna be careful for brussels. I’ll appreciate for those who proceed this in future. Numerous other people will be benefited out of your writing. Cheers!

  27. It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of info. I’m glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Thanks for another informative web site. The place else could I get that type of info written in such an ideal method? I’ve a undertaking that I am simply now working on, and I have been at the look out for such information.

  29. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article author for your site. You have some really great posts and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please blast me an email if interested. Thanks!

  30. Just want to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your put up is just excellent and i could think you’re knowledgeable in this subject. Fine together with your permission allow me to grasp your RSS feed to keep updated with impending post. Thank you one million and please continue the rewarding work.

  31. Spot on with this write-up, I actually think this web site wants rather more consideration. I’ll most likely be again to read rather more, thanks for that info.

  32. This design is steller! You definitely know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  33. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say excellent blog!

  34. Hello, Neat post. There’s a problem along with your web site in internet explorer, could test this… IE nonetheless is the market leader and a huge element of other people will leave out your excellent writing because of this problem.

  35. You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  36. I’m so happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the accidental misinformation that’s at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.

  37. I’ve been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  38. Enjoyed reading through this, very good stuff, appreciate it. “What the United States does best is to understand itself. What it does worst is understand others.” by Carlos Fuentes.

  39. I was examining some of your posts on this internet site and I think this website is rattling informative! Retain putting up.

  40. I am so happy to read this. This is the type of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that’s at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best doc.

  41. I do not even know how I finished up right here, but I assumed this submit was once great. I do not recognize who you might be but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger in case you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  42. I’m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your concept is excellent; the problem is one thing that not sufficient persons are talking intelligently about. I am very pleased that I stumbled throughout this in my seek for something referring to this.

  43. I have recently started a blog, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time & work.

  44. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Very useful info specially the closing part 🙂 I maintain such information a lot. I used to be seeking this certain information for a very lengthy time. Thanks and good luck.

  45. There are actually a whole lot of details like that to take into consideration. That may be a great level to convey up. I supply the ideas above as common inspiration however clearly there are questions like the one you deliver up where an important factor might be working in sincere good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I’m certain that your job is clearly identified as a good game. Each boys and girls really feel the impression of only a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  46. Good V I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs and related info ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, web site theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Excellent task..

  47. Hi there! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog. Is it tough to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? With thanks

  48. It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or advice. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I want to read even more things about it!

  49. Magnificent beat ! I would like to apprentice at the same time as you amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a weblog site? The account helped me a applicable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright transparent concept

  50. Only a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw great style. “Individuals may form communities, but it is institutions alone that can create a nation.” by Benjamin Disraeli.

  51. My husband and i were very contented Michael could finish up his reports while using the precious recommendations he grabbed when using the site. It is now and again perplexing to simply always be releasing tips people might have been making money from. We see we’ve got the website owner to give thanks to because of that. Most of the explanations you’ve made, the straightforward blog menu, the friendships you aid to instill – it’s got all awesome, and it’s leading our son in addition to the family feel that this article is fun, and that’s exceedingly essential. Thank you for everything!

  52. F*ckin¦ amazing issues here. I¦m very glad to see your post. Thank you a lot and i’m taking a look ahead to touch you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?

  53. Appreciating the commitment you put into your site and detailed information you present. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Wonderful read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  54. I am extremely inspired along with your writing skills and also with the format on your blog. Is that this a paid subject or did you modify it your self? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one today..

  55. Together with everything which seems to be building throughout this subject matter, your viewpoints happen to be fairly exciting. Nonetheless, I beg your pardon, but I can not give credence to your entire idea, all be it stimulating none the less. It appears to everyone that your opinions are generally not entirely rationalized and in actuality you are generally yourself not completely certain of the argument. In any event I did take pleasure in reading through it.

  56. Hola! I’ve been reading your weblog for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic work!

  57. I do agree with all of the ideas you have presented in your post. They’re really convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very short for newbies. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

  58. I really like your writing style, superb information, appreciate it for putting up :D. “Every moment of one’s existence one is growing into more or retreating into less.” by Norman Mailer.

  59. Thanks , I’ve just been searching for info about this subject for ages and yours is the greatest I have discovered till now. However, what concerning the bottom line? Are you certain in regards to the supply?

  60. Oh my goodness! a tremendous article dude. Thank you Nonetheless I am experiencing subject with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss problem? Anybody who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

  61. Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any solutions to prevent hackers?

  62. YOU NEED QUALITY VISITORS THAT BUY FROM YOU ?I can get for your site visitors:- from search engines – visitors from social media – visitors from any country you want – very low bounce rate & long visit durationCLAIM YOUR 24 HOURS FREE TEST => https://bit.ly/3gqLEoEDo not forget to read Review to convince you, is already being tested by many people who have trusted it !!

  63. Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very difficult to get that “perfect balance” between usability and appearance. I must say you’ve done a awesome job with this. In addition, the blog loads super quick for me on Firefox. Excellent Blog!

  64. Hello I am so happy I found your weblog, I really found you by mistake, while I was browsing on Aol for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a marvelous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the minute but I have book-marked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the excellent work.

  65. I just want to say I am just all new to blogging and honestly savored you’re web blog. More than likely I’m going to bookmark your website . You definitely come with tremendous stories. Thanks a bunch for sharing your blog site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *