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NCJ Number: 211490 Find in a Library
Title: Homicide Bereavement: A Family Affair
Journal: Forensic Nursing  Volume:1  Issue:3  Dated:Fall 2005  Pages:101-105,128
Author(s): M. Regina Asaro; Paul T. Clements
Date Published: 2005
Page Count: 6
Type: Instructional Material
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper explores some of the issues and challenges families face in the aftermath of the murder of a family member; suggestions are offered for assessment, guidance, and intervention.
Abstract: During the initial years of bereavement, many families experience extreme trauma and grief, both as individuals and as part of the larger family unit. This affects the stability, development, communication, and role-functioning of the family system. The bereavement literature indicates that the death of a family member due to sudden interpersonal violence tends to produce exaggerated and complex grief responses, as such deaths are perceived as untimely, unfair, and unnatural. Such perceptions intensify the feelings of disbelief, shock, and rage. In addition to the shock of the death itself, murders involve intrusive issues and tasks associated with the police investigation and the autopsy. In the bereavement period, family members will react and cope in different ways, depending on the nature of the individual family member's prior relationship with the deceased and individual psychological resources and characteristics. Other factors affecting the bereavement process are the identity of the perpetrator, gender-related and culture-related mourning styles, and variable external factors. Mental health practitioners can support surviving families by assessing the various factors likely to impact the family system and the individuals within it. Any indications of dysfunctional coping patterns should be addressed. Following a thorough assessment of how the family is functioning, each area of risk for individual family members and the family as a system should be addressed. Caregivers themselves should explore their own issues regarding death, trauma, and bereavement so they do not inadvertently contribute to the family's avoidance of issues that must be addressed if the family is to make a healthy adjustment to the loss. 14 references
Main Term(s): Victim services
Index Term(s): Family intervention programs; Family support; Homicide Co-Survivors; Homicide victims; Murder; Psychological victimization effects; Victim reactions to crime
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