Bereavement is a painful experience for anyone, but when you lose someone because of the violent actions of another person – through murder or manslaughter – it can be particularly devastating.

Last year our National Homicide Service supported more than 2,256 people bereaved by murder and manslaughter in England and Wales. This vital service helped people navigate and know what to expect from the criminal justice system, helped with immediate practical needs, helped them access financial assistance and access services such as bereavement counselling, restorative justice, debt advice, legal advice and much more.

As well as coping with your loss, the knowledge that it was caused by the conscious actions of another person can be incredibly distressing, and cause you to experience strong, sometimes overpowering feelings.

Every person experiences bereavement differently and your feelings may change from day to day. Over time you may feel a wide range of emotions. Talking about what you’re going through and how you feel can’t change what’s happened, but it can help in other ways.

While those around you may want to help support you, they may also be struggling to cope at this difficult time. So having someone else to listen and help can be very important.

As the impact of a violent death can be so great, we provide a dedicated Homicide Service throughout England and Wales. Although we’re independent of the police, we work closely with them to ensure that anyone bereaved by homicide is offered a trained caseworker who can co-ordinate support for them.

Our homicide caseworkers will contact anyone who asks for our help and can tailor support to meet your specific needs. This can include support from a specially-trained homicide volunteer. Our staff and volunteers can visit you at home or somewhere else where you feel comfortable and if needed, they can see you regularly over a period of time. All the help we provide is confidential and free.

Life can fall apart for those left behind after a murder, so our caseworkers can also give you practical support. We can help with everyday things such as dealing with phone calls, letters, or even helping with funeral arrangements.

We can also help with claiming compensation and can give you information about the police, coroner, and all the other parts of the criminal justice system that become involved after a homicide. We can also refer you onto the Citizens Advice witness service who will support you at court if the murder or manslaughter results in a trial.

If there is specialist help or support that you need, and that we can’t provide, we can arrange for others to help. This can mean putting you in touch with other specialist organisations or arranging things like professional counselling.
Bereaved families affected by a homicide should be told about our Homicide Service by the police family liaison officers, who contact us if you have experienced a murder or manslaughter. If people are happy to receive our help, the police will contact our service directly and we’ll arrange to see you as soon as it’s convenient.

Anyone bereaved in this way can also contact us directly if they want to. You can contact us by calling our National Homicide Service on 0300 303 1984 or requesting support online.

If English is not your first language and you would like some support, call our Supportline and let us know which language you speak, and we will call you back with an interpreter as soon as possible. We also welcome calls via Relay UK on 18001 08 08 16 89 111.

We hope that you will get in touch with us, but if you decide not to now, you can call us at any point in the future.