Frequently Asked Questions…
We encourage you to call or email the Homicide Victims’ Support Group with any questions you might have. Please click here to submit it.
“How long will I feel like this?”
There is no prescribed time to grieve. When murder is involved grieving can be complicated by the legal process, with the murder being revisisted each time you attend court. Some people may not be able to grieve fully until the court process is completed.
“When will I get back to normal?”
Your “normal” might never be the same again. It will be a different “normal”. Your experiece of murder and all it encompasses can/will challenge many aspects of your beliefs. It will take time to reconstruct your new normal.
“I haven’t cried and people think I’m not grieving.”
Crying is one response to sadness, not everyong cries and not everyone cries in public. The pain you are feeling may not be reflected in tears but in other ways.
“People tell me how well I am coping but they don’t see me at home.”
Often surviving involves “putting on a brave face” and very few people see how much pain you are in. Some may assume you are coping because of the external/public face or say you are “so strong” – what are the alternatives? They don’t see you at home.
“How do I deal with the communities’ reaction?” Murder is such a public death and so many people feel compelled to talk about it.
“Some people cross to the other side of the road when they see me coming”
Grief does set you apart from others. A lot of people do not know what to say or how to respond to the family of a murder victim and they can therefore try and avoid coming into contact with you.
“How long will it take before there is a trial after someone is arrested?”
This will depend of many factors. These include how long it takes for the investigation to be completed, whether mental illness is involved, when the accused enters a plea. In NSW it can take approximately 18 months to 2 years for the matter to come to trial. The Police will generally keep you informed of the progress.
“Can my family be represented by a solictor at the trial?”
Not in a murder trial. The charges are being brought by the State on behalf of the community and not by your family. The Department of Public Prosecution DPP handles these cases.
At an inquest into a death the family can have legal representation.
“Do I have to attend all/any of the legal proceedings?”
Families choose to attend as little or as much of the legal proceedings as they need to. Not all family members might want to attend court hearings; some might only attend the trial. It is up to each individual to make that decision for themselves.
The community is entitled to grieve in their own way but you are not responsible for this. The most important people at this time are you and your family.
“I was not a family member but knew the deceased and feel forgotten, what can I do?
Often people close to the victim, friends and work collegues are “forgotten” in the trauma following a murder with the emphasis and support going to the immediate family. Everyone who had a connection with the deceased will be affected to some degree.
It is important for those outside the immediate family to acknowledge their loss. How you choose to do this might include, attending the funeral, taking time to remember , displaying photos or talking to others.
Myths and Facts About Grief…
Myth: The pain will go away faster if you ignore it
Fact: Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it. People who have gone through grief are different, you will not be who you were before.
Myth: It is important to “be strong” in the face of loss
Fact: Feeling sad, frightened or lonely is a normal reaction to loss. Crying doesn’t mean you are weak. You don’t need to “protect” your family or friends by puttingh on a brave front. Showing your true feeling can help them and you.
Myth: If you don’t cry, it means you aren’t sorry about the loss
Fact: Crying is a normal response to sadness, but it’s not the only one. Those who don’t cry may feel the pain just as deeply as others. They may simply have other ways of showing it.
Myth: Grief should last about a year
Fact: There is no right or wrong time frame for grieving. How long it takes can differ from person to person.
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