Homicide: The Hidden Victims: A Guide for Professionals
Social scientist, victim advocate, and herself, the mother of a murder victim, Deborah Spungen is well acquainted with all facets of what she defines as “the blackest hell accompanied by a pain so intense that even breathing becomes an unendurable labor.” In Homicide: The Hidden Victims, Spungen illustrates just how and why family members become co-victims when a loved one is murdered and she poignantly addresses the emotional, physical, spiritual, and psychological effects of such traumatic events. Until now, the extant literature has focused, primarily, on the perpetrator while impact on the “invisible victims” of crime has been overlooked. With limited services and/or advocacy available, co-victims have found their wounds compounded by confusion and a sense of aloneness in the ongoing aftermath of such a ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: The Dynamics of Murder
- The Interaction of Violence and Murder
- The Impact of Homicide
- Chapter 2: Traumatic Grief: A New Model
- Understanding Trauma
- Understanding Grief
- The Synergism of Trauma and Grief
- The Emotional Experience of Traumatic Grief
- Cultural and Gender Influences
- Mental Health Implications
- Chapter 3: Murder and the Family System
- The Uniqueness of Family Loss
- Intrafamily Homicide
- Chapter 4: Circumstantial Influences
- Co-Victims of Police
- Alcohol-Related Vehicular Homicides
- No-Arrest Cases
- Bystander and Random Killings
- Community Disasters and Multiple and Serial Murders
- Chapter 5: Death Notification: The Long-Term Impact
- Role of Caregivers and Service Providers
- Consequences of the Death Notification
- Chapter 6: Interventions and Advocacy
- Who are the Intervenors?
- What are the Interventions?
- Chapter 7: Justice for all: Do Co-Victims have Legal Rights?
- The Criminal Justice System
- Additional Legal Issues
- Chapter 8: Facing the Media
- Media Perspectives
- Impact of the Media on Co-Victims: The Second Wound
- Positive Effects of Media Coverage
- Strategies for Working with the Media
- Chapter 9: Reconstructing a New Life: Endings and Beginnings
IVPS: Interpersonal Violence: The Practice Series[Page ii]JonR.Conte, Series Editor
Interpersonal Violence: The Practice Series is devoted to mental health, social service, and allied professionals who confront daily the problem of interpersonal violence. It is hoped that the knowledge, professional experience, and high standards of practice offered by the authors of these volumes may lead to the end of interpersonal violence.
In this series…
LEGAL ISSUES IN CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT
by John E. B. Myers
CHILD ABUSE TRAUMA: Theory and Treatment of the Lasting Effects
by John N. Briere
INTERVENTION FOR MEN WHO BATTER: An Ecological Approach
by Jeffrey L. Edleson and Richard M. Tolman
COGNITIVE PROCESSING THERAPY FOR RAPE VICTIMS: A Treatment Manual
by Patricia A. Resick and Monica K. Schnicke
GROUP TREATMENT OF ADULT INCEST SURVIVORS
by Mary Ann Donaldson and Susan Cordes-Green
TEAM INVESTIGATION OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE: The Uneasy Alliance
by Donna Pence and Charles Wilson
HOW TO INTERVIEW SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIMS: Including the Use of Anatomical Dolls
by Marcia Morgan, with contributions from Virginia Edwards
ASSESSING DANGEROUSNESS: Violence by Sexual Offenders, Batterers, and Child Abusers
Edited by Jacquelyn C. Campbell
PATTERN CHANGING FOR ABUSED WOMEN: An Educational Program
by Marilyn Shear Goodman and Beth Creager Fallon
GROUPWORK WITH CHILDREN OF BATTERED WOMEN: A Practitioner's Manual
by Einat Peled and Diane Davis
PSYCHOTHERAPY WITH SEXUALLY ABUSED BOYS: An Integrated Approach
by William N. Friedrich
CONFRONTING ABUSIVE BELIEFS: Group Treatment for Abusive Men
by Mary Nomme Russell
TREATMENT STRATEGIES FOR ABUSED CHILDREN: From Victim to Survivor
by Cheryl L. Karp and Traci L. Butler
GROUP TREATMENT FOR ADULT SURVIVORS OF ABUSE: A Manual for Practitioners
by Laura Pistone Webb and James Leehan
WORKING WITH CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT: A Primer
by Vernon R. Wiehe
TREATING SEXUALLY ABUSED CHILDREN AND THEIR NONOFFENDING PARENTS: A Cognitive Behavioral Approach
by Esther Deblinger and Anne Hope Heflin
HEARING THE INTERNAL TRAUMA: Working With Children and Adolescents Who Have Been Sexually Abused
by Sandra Wieland
PREPARING AND PRESENTING EXPERT TESTIMONY IN CHILD ABUSE LITIGATION: A Guide for Expert Witnesses and Attorneys
by Paul Stern
TREATMENT STRATEGIES FOR ABUSED ADOLESCENTS: From Victim to Survivor
by Cheryl L. Karp, Traci L. Butler, and Sage C. Bergstrom
HOMICIDE: THE HIDDEN VICTIMS—A Guide for Professionals
by Deborah Spungen
Copyright © 1998 by Sage Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Homicide: The hidden victims—a guide for professionals / by Deborah Spungen.
p. cm. — (Interpersonal violence; v. 20)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-8039-5776-9 (cloth: acid-free paper). — ISBN 0-8039-5777-7 (pbk. acid-free paper)
1. Murder victims’ families. 2. Murder victims’ families—Services for. 3. Homicide—Psychological aspects. 4. Bereavement. I. Title. II. Series.
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I remember the first time I met a parent whose child had been murdered. By chance, I sat down beside her outside of a courtroom. She held herself stiffly and wadded a handkerchief in her hands. I was there on other business and paid little attention to her. After a few minutes of silence, she asked me why I was in the courthouse. I told her. She replied, “I'm here because my daughter was murdered.” I was stunned and, truthfully, uncomfortable. I didn't know what to say or do.
This was over 23 years ago. I think I said something like, “How terrible. I'm sorry.” But I don't really know. I do know that I listened to her story for about 20 minutes and then had to leave on an errand.
I've thought about those moments a great deal over the last two decades, as I've journeyed through the evolution of the victims’ movement in the United States. I've thought how inadequate I was, and how far I have been carried toward understanding by the thoughtful survivors of crime I have come to know.
Inevitably, I often reflect on how much progress we have made through the establishment of some 10,000 victim service programs throughout the country to provide services to victims from the time [Page x]of the crime through the court process and after case disposition. I marvel over the thousands of laws that have been passed to protect the rights of victims in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. I have witnessed the birth and maturation of a great force, as state after state has passed constitutional amendments on victim rights; and even now I am witness to a great debate over a federal constitutional amendment to ensure that victims’ rights are protected, informed, present, and heard at critical phases in the justice system—criminal, administrative, juvenile, and military.
I've watched as society and the criminal justice system have better responded to all kinds of criticisms.
But the memory of 23 years ago still haunts me. It haunts me because, despite the tremendous growth in trauma research and the revolutionary changes in victim rights and services, the distress I experienced over that encounter with a homicide's victim's mother is recurring today with thousands of others who find themselves in the same situation—even among people who meet such victims not by chance, as I did, but on purpose. For even well-meaning caregivers often lack the skills and understanding to provide the support that homicide co-victims deserve and need to survive.
I believe this gap in services is due to a number of factors. First, there is little training for professionals on how to work with co-victims. This is illustrated simply by the vast numbers of law enforcement officers, emergency workers, coroners, doctors, and crisis interveners who have never received death notification training. As Deborah Spungen aptly points out, “All caregivers who serve co-victims of homicide, even if they do not actually deliver death notifications, need to be familiar and comfortable with the death notification model.”
Second, the interconnected issues of trauma and grief have only recently begun to be examined. It is in a sense ironic that the fields of traumatology and thanatology have emerged as independent disciplines complete with different professional associations representing them. While some professionals are members of both fields, many have yet to see the essential union of research and thought that is needed when addressing sudden, violent death. Even in the studies that have emerged on traumatic grief, there has been little thought given to the uniqueness of grief occasioned by homicide and its varieties.[Page xi]
Third, most public interest in homicide and murder has focused on the offender. At times, this is due to the sensationalism of an individual case or mass murder. But at times, it seems to be because the victim is dead and the offender is alive. The co-victims are subjected not simply to a conspiracy of silence but to a state of invisibility.
Fourth, and perhaps most distressing, is the fact that homicide co-victims are stigmatized by their fate. Homicide victims may be blamed and even slandered for the way they died, and sometimes for the way they lived. They, of course, have no voice to tell their own stories. Co-victims endure the aspersions cast upon their loved ones.
But co-victims often endure more. They may be isolated because others are distressed by their distress. They may be disparaged because they “will not let go,” or “fantasize about revenge,” or “talk about the evil done.” They may be ignored because no one wants to hear about the murder anymore. And, at times, they are even shunned because others fear the contagion of death and murder in their lives.
Finally, what complicates the preparations of caregivers and professionals who deal with co-victims is the remarkable breadth of knowledge they need. They need to comprehend the issues of traumatic grief, but they also need to understand the criminal justice system, the civil legal system, the juvenile justice system, the media, compensation and insurance systems, family systems, and the emerging law of victim rights. This multidisciplinary basis for intervention is not new to professional victims advocates, but other professionals have not been exposed to this maze of structures and functions.
And many victims advocates have focused on victims of crimes other than homicide. This is true despite the fact that homicides are committed in burglaries, robberies, rapes, domestic violence, and child abuse—so many of the subspecialities in victim assistance lead their practitioners to confront murder.
Deborah Spungen's book fills a major gap by examining more closely the intricate nature of the effects of homicide on its co-victims and by addressing the complexities of the interactions of multiple systems on their lives. It is particularly helpful because it draws upon the experience of the author as a co-victim herself, as well as the experiences of many other co-victims with whom she has worked. There is growing recognition that those who are traumatized are [Page xii]often able to better deal with traumatic events when they are able to put words to their reactions and a story to their experience. Story-telling may be a helpful coping strategy for co-victims, but it is also a compelling education for those who listen to the stories. Nothing can tell of the anguish and agony of homicide and its aftermath like the words of those who continue to live after murder has occurred. The fact that those words can still startle or amaze is a testament to how much there is to learn.
Chapters 2 and 9 should be of particular interest to anyone working in the field of grief or trauma. Spungen's discussion of why there is a need for a new model for understanding grief in the aftermath of homicide is insightful and raises many issues that bear further study and thought. I hope her suggestion that it may be useful to develop a new schema to address normal homicide bereavement and to differentiate it from complicated homicide bereavement is taken seriously by researchers and practitioners. Chapter 9 provides an excellent summary of critical tools that can be used for co-victims, and I hope every caregiver will use it as a guide in presenting options as co-victims continue to live their lives.
As I read this book, I thought of the grieving mother I met in 1975. I hadn't even asked her name. Through the many years since, I have sat, talked, walked, wept, and laughed with many other co-victims— Charlotte and Bob Hullinger, Betty Jane Spencer, Roberta and Vince Roper, Bob and Pat Preston, Dick Kramer, Greg Novak, Bob and Dee Dee Kouns, Jack Russell, Odile Stern, and so many, many more.
I hope that I have learned their lessons well, and that my response today to co-victims is more skillfully compassionate than it was 23 years ago. But this book offers me additional perspectives and has shown me ways to do my work better.
And for professionals who have not had the gifts given to me over two decades by co-victims, Deborah Spungen's Homicide: The Hidden Victims is an essential guide to better comprehension of the challenges faced by them.MarleneYoung, Executive Director National Organization for Victim Assistance Washington, DC
The completion of Homicide: The Hidden Victims—A Guide for Professionals has been one more step for me on my journey since the murder of my daughter Nancy on October 12, 1978. Her death started me on a road that I never could have envisaged for myself. Nancy's murder was the catalyst for my work with crime victims. At some point, however, my work began to stand on its own. I truly believe that the universe is unfolding as it should and that I am exactly where I need to be in life.
When I sat down to write the acknowledgments for this book, I found myself not knowing where to begin. So many colleagues, friends, professionals, teachers, institutions, organizations, agencies, research assistants, computer consultants, members of the criminal justice system, and co-victims of homicide all played a role in the creation of this book. I hesitate trying to list them individually because I fear that I will inadvertently neglect to mention someone. I apologize to those whom I do not name personally, and I thank them for their time, effort, information, and support. Some names I never knew or cannot remember, but the assistance and encouragement of these individuals was always appreciated.[Page xiv]
This book has a long history, and I want to acknowledge Dr. Lenard Kaye, my professor at Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, for providing me with the focus and title for Homicide: The Hidden Victims and the impetus to write it. I would also like to mention some of the people who made special contributions during the 8 years that it took for the book to go from the germ of an idea to reality. Jennifer Cousar Costa, my first research assistant, helped me organize my thoughts for this book and taught me where to put commas and quotation marks. Suzanne Lanza and Sarah Matthews also ably assisted me in my endeavors. A special thanks goes to Sharron Russell, my number one research assistant, who worked with me on this project for the last 2 years. I truly could not have completed the book without her loyalty, commitment, skills, and patience. She also provided the focus and motivation that I needed when I began to despair of ever finishing and created the wonderful tables throughout the text. I also want to thank Krista Ely, who came late to the team and was there for the final word. She played an integral role in applying the finishing touches to the book. Ann West, my developmental copy editor, was the sculptor's assistant who came in to polish the rough edges and give me the confidence to complete the book. I commend C. Terry Hendrix, Senior Editor at Sage Publications, for his remarkable patience, understanding, and tolerance in the 3 years it took me to write the book. A large vote of appreciation goes to Dale Grenfell at Sage. She was always responsive to my questions and concerns, and it was a pleasure to work with her. Thanks to Dr. Jon Conte, the editor of the Interpersonal Violence: The Practice Series for Sage Publications, who believed in my book from the begirining.
Many colleagues in victims’ rights organizations and agencies inspired me with their commitment to the field and were always available to provide me with the answers and information that I needed while writing the book. I thank all those individuals at the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA), National Victim Center (NVC), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), Philadelphia Coalition for Victim Advocacy (PCVA), National Association of Crime Victim Compensation [Page xv]Boards, and the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists (ATSS) for their time, support, and effort on my behalf.
The Board of Directors of the Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia (AVP) supported me by ensuring that AVP would continue to flourish and grow even when their “charismatic leader” resigned as executive director to find more hours to work on the book. Special words of appreciation go to Julie Good, my colleague and friend, who replaced me as the executive director of AVP. Her professionalism and commitment to the agency and its mission allowed me the peace of mind to continue writing. Under Julie's leadership, AVP has grown beyond its early grassroots days as we address the entire cycle of violence. I especially appreciate her understanding of my emotional ties to AVP and allowing me to continue that relationship.
I thank the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, especially the homicide unit, for allowing the Families of Murder Victims (FMV) program to exist within the office and for the opportunity to serve the co-victims of homicide in Philadelphia. Thanks also to all my friends in the Philadelphia Police Department, especially the homicide detectives (present and retired), for their hard work and dedication.
I appreciate my family and friends for their faith in me and for never asking, “Aren't you finished with that book yet?” To my children, Susan, David, and Liz, who found their own way in the world, I thank them for their love and for being there for me.
The most special thank-you goes to my best friend, my husband, Frank, who offered me all his love and support and never questioned my commitment to writing this book. Only he knew how arduous a task I had chosen for myself and understood that it was a necessary part of my journey.
Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission to reprint excerpts from previously published articles.
Associated Press:“Simpson Case Backlash Keeps Camera Out of Other Courtrooms.” (1995, September 17). New York Times, p. 35.[Page xvi]Skorneck, C. (1990, December 22). “Shootings No Longer Faze D.C. Children.” Philadelphia Inquirer, p. A3.
The New York Times:Baker, R. (1993, September 10). “A Slight Plague of Murder,” p. 21.Blumenthal, R. (1990, November 6). “With Detective Hard Pressed, Family Joins Hunt for Killer,” pp. B1, B5.Bragg, R. (1996, December 26). “Prisoner's Pittance Is Meant as a Reminder of a Great Loss,” pp. A1, A16.Fried, J. (1990, December 14). “Confession Forces a Family to Relive Decade-Old Killing,” pp. B1, B4.“The Girls Who Had Everything.” (1986, October 22), p. A30.Goldberg, C. (1996, February 22). “Boys’ Families Hope for Release as Freeway Killer's Execution Nears,” p. A14.Gross, J. (1990, August 12). “Bystander Deaths Reshape City Lives,” p. 18.James, G. (1992, December 24). “The Endless Quest for a Daughter's Killer,” pp. B1, B5.Jones, C. (1995, October 13). “Nicole Simpson, in Death, Lifting Domestic Violence to the Forefront as a National Issue,” p. A28.Kolbert, E. (1994, December 14). “Television Gets Closer Look as a Factor in Real Violence,” pp. A1, D20.Leary, W. E. (1994, October 23). “Gun Violence Leading to Better Care for Injuries,” p. 32.“Man Tells of Learning About Wife's Slaying.” (1995, January 25), p. B4.Richardson, L. (1993, July 1). “For a Grieving Mother, Freshened Tears,” p. B6.The Philadelphia Daily News:Daughen, J. R., Costantinou, M., and Sheehan, K. (1994, January 12). “Woman Slain on Highway,” pp. 5, 22.Laker, B., and O'Dowd, J. (1993, December 22). “Medical Student Killed: Newlyweds’ Plans End in Tragedy,” pp. 4, 5.The Philadelphia Inquirer:Barnard, A., and Henson, R. (1996, June 26). “Father Slays Son, 2 1/2, Then Kills Himself,” pp. B1, B4. Reprinted by permission of A. Barnard.Cipriano, R. (1996, June 13). “Business Scrubs Away Death,” p. A3.Colimore, E., Raphael, M., and Sanginiti, T. (1994, November 3). “Wife of a Cherry Hill Rabbi Found Beaten to Death at Home,” pp. A7, A17.Gammage, J. (1993, June 18). “Shooting Took a Life, Shattered a Second, and Shook Many More,” p. A1.[Page xvii]Gibbons, T. J., and Gelles, J. (1996, November 21). “Arrest in Killing of Penn Chemist,” p. A1.Goodman, H. (1995, December 3). “2d Jury Convicts Ex-Guard in ‘84 Drexel Slaying,” pp. A1, A13.Jamieson, K. H., and Romer, D. (1995, August 27). “If It's (Black and White) Crime, Television Will Give It Time,” p. E5.Lewis, C. (1995, November 29). “Our Fear of Crime Is Exaggerated, and Lurid News Stories Are to Blame,” p. A19.Lopez, S. (1997, January 1). “Enduring the Loss of a Child to Violence,” pp. A1, A9.Loyd, L. (1994, December 7). “Man Sentenced to Die for Shooting Teen During Deli Dispute,” p. B5.Loyd, L. (1995, November 1). “Life Sentence for Man Who Killed Officer,” p. Bl.Loyd, L. (1996, February 28). “Polecs Get Chance to Tell Killer Their Pain,” pp. A1, A13.Matza, M. (1991, July 28). “The Innocent Bystander as Victim,” pp. A1, A10.Paik, A. (1995, March 11). “Kin's Anger Erupts in a Murder Trial,” p. B7.Phillips, N. (1991, July 21). “Memorial for a Child Slain at Five,” p. B2.Sabatini, R. V. (1996, June 26). “Murder-Suicide Ruled in Bristol Fire Deaths,” p. R3.Samuel, T. (1996, July 16). “Victims’ Kin Running for Office to Change Nation's Gun Laws,” p. A3.Seplow, S. (1996, November 27). “Without Camera, Trial Isn't As Riveting,” p. A2.Terry, R. J., Colimore, E., and Gibbons, T. J., Jr. (1996, July 11). “Wait for Answers in Dellapenna Case Grows One Day Longer,” p. R3.Valbrun, M. (1996, January 12). “A Philadelphia Officer Is Mourned as Colleague, Mother, Friend,” pp. A1, B7.Vigoda, R. (1996, December 10). “Judges Rules du Pont Ready to Stand Trial,” pp. A1, A14.Weiner, J. (1995, June 8). “A Shooting Victim Now Crusades Against Violence Aimed at Gays,” p. G4.Woodall, M. (1995, August 20). “When Mom's Boyfriend Gets Violent, Children Die,” pp. A1, A16, A17.Knight-Ridder/Tribune Information Services:[Page xviii]Cannon, A. (1996, December 25). “Father of Slain Man Joins Kin of Teen Killer to Fight Violence,” p. A25.
Introduction: Making Known the Hidden[Page xix]Recognizing Co-Victims
What is homicide? “The willful (non-negligent) killing of one human being by another” (Bastian, 1995, p. 3). The family of a murder victim has a different definition: the blackest hell accompanied by a pain so intense that even breathing becomes an unendurable labor.
I became personally acquainted with the above definitions when my own daughter Nancy was murdered in 1978. In 1980, my husband and I founded a peer support group for families of murder victims in Philadelphia. In its original format, it was a chapter of the national group of Parents of Murdered Children (POMC). Edward Rendell, then district attorney of Philadelphia, attended the third meeting and encouraged the families present to get more involved in the criminal justice system by attending trials and other court proceedings. This would, he said, help provide information and a support system for the families involved.[Page xx]
It became clear to the original families of POMC that it was not possible to deal with grief and bereavement issues without also dealing with the impact of the legal system on the families and friends of a homicide victim, the co-victims of homicide. The sociolegal model of service delivery to co-victims evolved in response to the personal insights and experiences gained from my interactions with the various systems and individuals who deal with homicide.
The support group was helpful and important, but it was not enough. As our group prepared to widen our scope of clients and services, we changed our name to Families of Murder Victims (FMV). In 1986, FMV established a freestanding victim advocate office within the homicide unit of the district attorney's office to help guide the families of homicide victims through the criminal justice system and the grieving process. FMV was the first victim advocate agency in the United States developed solely to provide services for the co-victims of homicide. Initially, our other priorities were twofold: (a) sensitizing the criminal justice system, the media, the lawmakers, and the community at large to families’ feelings and requirements and (b) providing case and system advocacy for individual co-victims as well as for the entire class of co-victims.
The murder of my 20-year-old daughter in 1978 allowed me to say “I understand” to families that I met in my work, but that was not enough. I could generalize from my own experience, but that still was not enough. As I worked each day with the co-victims of homicide, I began to see how much more information was needed to respond effectively to their many needs. Our group modified and expanded its original list of priorities in response to the knowledge we were acquiring from working with co-victims and the systems that affected them.
The subsequent growth of FMV paralleled the growth of the victims’ rights movement in the United States. One of the few grassroots endeavors of the 20th century, this field was launched in the early 1970s and emerged in the 1990s as a formalized profession with its own technology and knowledge base. FMV advanced from the part-time, volunteer-based organization of 1980 into the full-service victim advocate agency that it is today. A critical participant in the national victims’ rights agenda, FMV is serving as an agent of change. Each year brings new victories, albeit small ones, and co-victims of [Page xxi]homicide are receiving greater recognition as victims of violence with additional legal rights.
During the developing years of FMV, there were no resources or experts to turn to. The organization itself became the place to learn about the experience of homicide and how to translate that knowledge into appropriate services for co-victims. In gathering information for my own use as director of FMV, and to assist in training other victim advocates, I discovered that the primary interest in murder was aimed at the perpetrator. Consequently, the majority of research and academic writing on murder followed suit. The resulting gap in literature has consistently hindered service delivery to co-victims because there have been few references or resources about this perspective for caregivers. How to best notify a family of the murder of a loved one, the effects of murder on the family and friends of the victim, media influences, traumatic grief, and “second wounds” have not been examined, collectively, until Homicide: The Hidden Victims.
This text is a direct product of my personal experience as a co-victim of homicide coupled with 16 years of work with families of homicide victims. In May 1989,1 completed two graduate degrees in areas related to my expertise (Master of Social Service and Master of Law and Social Policy). In 1995, during National Victims’ Rights Week, I was a recipient of the Presidential Crime Victims’ Service Award, giving national recognition to co-victims as crime victims. The establishment of FMV and the creation of the term co-victim have resulted in positive modifications in the way that victims are viewed by the American criminal justice system and by society. FMV is considered a model program and standard for the establishment of similar programs in jurisdictions around the country. It is my hope that caregivers, and the agencies for whom they work, can learn from my experiences at FMV, build on them, and contribute to the much needed research in this field.
Homicide: The Hidden Victims is a crossover text that makes multidisciplinary connections and is intended for advanced undergraduate courses as well as for training at the M.S.W., M.A., or Ph.D. levels (e.g., social workers, clinical psychologists and counselors, pastoral counselors, and other mental health practitioners). It is also a training manual for recent graduates and new service providers, a reference [Page xxii]for experienced caregivers, and a definitive resource for those who come in contact with or formulate policy for co-victims of homicide (e.g., journalists and police officers). Caregiver, service provider, intervener, and victim advocate will be used interchangeably here to describe professionals who work with this victim population including, but not limited to, trauma workers, mental health professionals and clinicians, criminal justice workers, clergy, emergency or medical professionals, volunteers, and students.
This book focuses on the invisible victims of crime, the co-victims or survivors of homicide—their ordeal, their grief, their pain, and their reconstruction of new lives. The purpose of such research, however, is not merely to chronicle the co-victim experience but also to use this perspective to acquaint intervenors with an understanding of the ordeal that homicide co-victims face. I am interested not only in the promotion of empathy for the co-victims but further in encouraging caregivers to use relevant information for creating better helping models. Case studies, anecdotes, and quotes garnered from interviews are used to illustrate the challenges confronting co-victims. The suggested reference material represents only a small segment of the information available. Some of these supplemental resources are quite current and suggest pioneering paradigms, theories, and interventions. It is imperative for caregivers, whether individual practitioners or those based in public or private agencies, to be familiar with such information, making every effort to be aware of new modalities.Preview of the Chapters
The first chapter provides an overview of murder in the United States and defines the concept of the victim-survivor. This essential foundation is presented as a basis for providing helping professionals with the knowledge to develop, frame, and deliver appropriate services to co-victims.
The idea of traumatic grief represents a new paradigm arising from the need to merge issues related to both trauma and grief, the commortality [Page xxiii]of which binds co-victims. Chapter 2 provides the lens through which the co-victim's experience is examined throughout the text.
The next two chapters provide a thorough discussion of the situational influences or special circumstances of co-victims, looking at the relationship of family and friends to the victim and then at the circumstances under which a murder occurred. From this assessment, professionals will gain greater understanding of the nuances and extent of the co-victim experience and mourning process.
The most defining event of a homicide, other than the murder itself, is how a family is notified of the victim's death. Empathic and informed death notification is an essential part of the co-victim's recovery process. Chapter 5 includes a field-tested training model and death notification protocol so that caregivers, if not notifiers themselves, can train others in effective death notification.
Interventions and tools specifically designed for use with co-victims are offered in Chapter 6 to guide the service provider. These interventions include techniques to use in individual and case advocacy; individual, family, and group counseling; and peer support groups.
Because most co-victims will need to confront legal matters—criminal, civil, or both—caregivers need a full understanding of these systems and knowledge of the legal rights of co-victims, discussed in Chapter 7. As the likely liaisons between co-victims and the system, victim advocates must know the rights of co-victims and legal terminology to provide effective services.
The media are a powerful, and often overwhelming, force in contemporary society. To best advise clients, service providers must understand the media rights of co-victims and the responsibilities of media professionals. Chapter 8 provides an in-depth look at the right to know versus the right to privacy.
Is it possible for co-victims to recover from the murder of a loved one? Will they ever “get over it”? The last chapter about reconstructing a new life explores these questions, provides caregivers with realistic expectations for co-victims, and differentiates between recovery and reconstruction.
Resources[Page 249]OrganizationsAnti-Violence Partnership (AVP) of Philadelphia, Families of Murder Victims (FMV) Program, 1421 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, (215) 686–8033.Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists (ATSS), 7338 Broad Rive Road, Irmo, SC 29063, (803) 781–1096.Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC), 638 Prospect Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105, (860) 586–7503.International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, 4785 Dorsey Hall Drive, Suite 102, Ellicort City, MD 21042, (420) 730–4311.International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), 60 Revere Drive, Suite 500, Northbrook, IL 60062, (708) 480–9028.Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 511 East John Carpenter Freeway, Suite 700, Irving, TX 75062, (800) GET-MADD.National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards, P.O. Box 16003, Alexandria, VA 22303, (703) 370–2996 (contact for listing of individual state CVC programs).National Criminal Justice Referral Service (NCJRS), P.O. Box 6000, Rockville, MD 20850, (800) 851–3420.National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA), 1757 Park Road NW, Washington, DC 20010, (202) 232–6682.[Page 250]National Victim Center (NVC), 2111 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 300, Arlington, VA2 2201, (703) 276–2880.Parents of Murdered Children (POMC), 100 East 8th Street, Suite B-41, Cincinnati, OH 45202, (513) 721–5683.Vidocq Society, P.O. Box 51256, Philadelphia, PA 19115, (215) 389–0299.Books and JournalsA Creative Healing Book#x201D; series. Available from the Bureau for At-Risk Youth, 135 Dupont Street, P.O. Box 760, Plainview, NY 11803-0760, (800) 999–6884.#x201C;1994). A victim#x0027;s right to speak, a nation#x0027;s responsibility to listen. Available from National Victim Center (NVC), 2111 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22201, (703) 276–2880., #x0026; (1993). Mowing and Mitzvah: A guided journal for walking the mourner#x0027;s path through grief to healing. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing.(Caplan, S., #x0026; 1995). Grief#x0027;s courageous journey: A workbook. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.(Crime Liability Monthly. Journal of the National Victim Center, Arlington, VA.Crime Victims#x2019; Litigation Quarterly. Journal of the National Victim Center, Arlington, VA.1996). Intercultural interactions: A practical guide (, #x0026; (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781452204970Audiovisual MaterialsCrime victim compensation: A good place to start [Videotape]. (Doc. No. NCJ 1623591H). Available from Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center, (800) 627–6872.Clinical InstrumentsGrief and Mourning Status Interview and Inventory (GAMSII). From (1993). Treatment of complicated mourning. Champaign, IL: Research Press.Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale (PDS). PDS Manual (1995). Minneapolis, MN: National Computer Systems (NCS). Available from NCS, P.O. Box 1416, Minneapolis, MN 55440.Traumatic Intake Assessment (2nd revision, 1994). Available from MaryDale Salston, 2039 North Meridian Road, Number 220, Tallahassee, FL 32303.Traumatic Stress Institute (TSI) Belief Scale (Revision L). Available from Traumatic Stress Institute, 22 Morgan Farms Drive, South Windsor, CT 06074, (860) 644–2541.
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