Trauma, Death and Death Notification


A Seminar for Professional Counselors and Victim Advocates


Janice H. Lord, ACSW-LMSW/LPC

National Director, Victim Programs

Mothers Against Drunk Driving


This project was supported by Grant Number 95-MU-GX-K007 awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime. Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs coordinates the activities of the following programs and offices: Bureau of Justice Assistance, Bureau of Justice Statistics, national Institute of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Prevention, and Office for Victims of Crime. Points of view in this document are those of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Cover: Photography by Dorothy L. Carter


Planning Your Death Notification Seminar 1

Comments of Attendees 3

Tips for Training Adults 5

Curriculum 9

Screening Tools for Victim Impact Panelists 42

Annotated Literature Review 54

Overheads 80

Handouts 126

Seminar Agenda 1

Speaker Bios 2

Outline 3

Bibliography 21

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 30

Articles 32

Crime Victims Compensation Information 36

Sample Handout for Family 37

Local Information 38

Evaluation 39


Breaking the Bad News with Concern for the Professional and Compassion for the Survivor

The Death Notification training package was designed by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) and funded by OVC. It is designed for professionals who routinely conduct death notification such as law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians, funeral directors, and clergy. The training curriculum gives notifiers the skills and awareness necessary to notify survivors of homicide victims with sensitivity and accuracy. Research has shown that the moments surrounding a death notification are highly traumatic to loved ones and if handled inappropriately, can generate irreparable emotional and psychological harm. Professionals who are trained in the appropriate protocol do victims a great service by minimizing additional trauma and supporting victims through the shock and grief that follow.

Having repeatedly to deliver bad news can leave death notifiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other physical and emotional problems. Death notification protocols also give notifiers the skills and self-awareness to guard their own mental health.

This training program has received high marks from the field; MADD receives numerous requests for training and materials on this topic. One of OVC's more cutting-edge programs, it is an excellent candidate for the homepage.

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