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.

Our National Homicide Service supports people bereaved by murder and manslaughter in England and Wales. This vital service has helped people in a number of ways, including:

  • helping them to navigate and know what to expect from the criminal justice system
  • helping with their immediate needs, such as accessing financial assistance
  • providing help through our trusted partner services including bereavement and/or trauma counselling, restorative justice, debt, legal and housing advice.

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 independent who is there specifically to listen and help you can be very important.

Our National Homicide Service will continue to provide valuable support to those who have been bereaved through homicide both at home and abroad. We also offer:

  • support for eyewitnesses of homicide where the homicide occurs anywhere in England and Wales. This is where someone is a direct eyewitness to the homicide.
  • short-term outreach support for children and young people in the community in the immediate aftermath of a homicide or criminal major incident.
  • support for eyewitnesses to criminal major incidents where these occur in England and Wales and involve fatalities.

Being an eyewitness to a homicide can leave people emotionally traumatised and/or have a significant impact on their mental wellbeing.

The Homicide Service offers support for non-related eyewitnesses to homicide in England and Wales, who have suffered harm. This includes both adults and children and young people (up to and including 18 years old) who are present at, and witness to, a homicide or the immediate aftermath of a homicide.

We will also offer support for those who are direct eyewitnesses in the event of a major incident which has been caused by a crime and where there have been fatalities.

Short-term outreach support is available to children and young people (CYP) in the community as needed. This might take place in schools, religious organisations, youth groups/organisations and community groups/centres.

Support will be provided by our specialist CYP team, supported by a specialist clinical practitioner. We will work in partnership with local organisations to co-deliver or support other organisations to deliver this support where they may be better placed.

The aim of our outreach service is to minimise the trauma experienced by children and young people during these challenging events. You can find more information on this on the ‘Supporting children and young people in the community following a homicide’ page.

Our caseworkers can support you 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 to the Citizens Advice Witness Service who will support you at court if the murder or manslaughter results in a trial.

For those that have witnessed these traumatic events but not directly suffered a bereavement, or for CYP in the community, our service also offers support to cope and deal with what you have seen or experienced.

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, or those who have witnessed a homicide or major incident with fatalities, 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.

If you are bereaved or have been a direct eyewitness, you can also contact us directly by calling our on 0300 303 1984.

If English is not your first language and you would like support, let us know which language you speak. We’ll call you back with an interpreter as soon as possible. We also welcome calls via the Relay UK app and SignLive (BSL).

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