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Homicide Bereavement: A Family Affair

Posted 11/04/2005

M. Regina Asaro; Paul T. Clements

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Murder of a loved one typically has a tremendous impact on the family as a whole and on individual members. While it is true people often react in very similar ways following such a traumatic loss, they do not necessarily grieve in the same way or at the same time. Additionally, the murder may have a detrimental effect on the stability, developmental tasks, communication patterns, and role functioning of the family. This paper explores some of the many issues and challenges families must face in the aftermath of a murder.

Introduction

During the first weeks, months, and in some cases, years after the trauma and chaos of a murder, families are focused on understanding what happened and why it happened, as well as beginning to deal with life without the deceased (Attig, 2001; Clements & Burgess, 2002; Redmond, 1989). What is not so obvious is that many families begin to "fall apart" when they are unable to figure out just how to do this (Clements, 2003). During the initial years of bereavement, many families are confronted with extreme trauma and grief, both as individuals, and as part of the larger unit. The murder of a young child or an adult family member can result in many challenges to the stability, development, communication, and role functioning of the family system. Along with exploring what families face after a murder, this paper will also provide suggestions for assessment, guidance, and intervention.



Section 1 of 6

M. Regina Asaro, MS, RN, CT, is a Consultant on Trauma and Loss in Newport News, VA

Paul T. Clements, PhD, APRN, BC, DF-IAFN, is an Assistant Professor, Old Dominion University School of Nursing, Norfolk, VA, and a Distinguished Fellow - International Association of Forensic Nurses

J Foren Nurs. 2005;1(3):101-105,128. ©2005 International Association of Forensic Nurses
 

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