Losing a Loved One to Homicide: What We Know About Homicide Co-Victims from Research and Practice Evidence

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Center for Victim Research (CVR)
The Center for Victim Research is assessing the state of the field in victim response specific crime types. This synthesis compiles research and practice evidence about homicide co-victimization (people who have lost a loved one to homicide). Based on the available statistics, the authors estimate that "anywhere from 9% to 15% of the U.S. adult population experiences homicide co-victimization" and between 8% and 18% of youth report experiences of homicide co-victimization. Risk factors discussed include race, gender, living in an urban area, and possibly socioeconomic status. Homicide co-victims often experience a range of psychological, economic, and social harms and co-victims may develop prolonged or complicated grief. This report also discusses barriers to healing, such as media coverage of their loved one's death, social stigma, and secondary victimization from legal, medical and other systems. Finally, the report provides an overview of available programs such as grief support groups and how professionals can help the healing process for homicide co-victims (Table 1 on page 21 for a summary of practices that may help or hinder in the short-term and long-term). See also the research brief "Homicide Co-Victimization," the bibliography of sources, and the related CVR webinar where results are discussed. (CVRL Abstract)
Synthesis, Homicide, Homicide Survivors, Murder, Violent Death, Violent Victimization, Covictims, Covictimization, Co-victims, Co-victimization, Loved Ones, Family, Friends, Community Violence, Network Trauma, Secondary Victimization, Secondary Traumatic Stress, Manslaughter, Vehicular Homicide, Vehicular Manslaughter, Adolescents, Youth, Grief, Grieving, Group Counseling, Group Treatment, Social Support, Gaps in Service, Gaps in Research, Economic Burden, Emotional Burden, Media Attention, Physical Trauma, Psychological Consequences, Revictimization, Triggering, Coping, Healing, Barriers to Service, Long-term Needs, Short-term Needs
Bastomski, Sara; Duane, Marina. (2019). Losing a Loved One to Homicide: What We Know About Homicide Co-Victims from Research and Practice Evidence. Research Syntheses, Center for Victim Research, 35 pgs.