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Understanding the Needs and Experiences of Families and Friends of Homicide Victims

NCJ Number
Jeanna M. Mastochinque; Elizabeth A. Cerceo
Date Published
May 2019
7 pages
This report describes a researcher-practitioner project that focused on understanding and addressing the needs and experiences of families and friends of homicide victims (FFHV) in the aftermath of the crime.
The ultimate goal of this effort is to create a hospital-based intervention for FFHV that is research-informed and modeled on the precepts of trauma-informed care, which were developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2014. The aims of the research portion of the project are to assess the needs of FFHV and the health consequences for FFHV, as well as to understand families' and friends' experiences with various response systems, including the criminal justice, health, and spiritual response systems. Emphasis is on interactions with the medical system. The research team addressed these goals by collecting data through focus groups and individual measures. The research aimed to classify the themes of the focus groups according to the SAMHSA model of trauma-informed care. These include safety; trustworthiness and transparency; peer support and mutual self-help; collaboration and mutuality; empowerment, voice, and choice; and cultural, historical, and gender issues. In addition, the team identified new themes that did not fit into any of these categories, namely, institutional trauma, symptomatology-mental, symptomatology-physical, re-traumatization, coping, learned helplessness, and judgment/judging. This report discusses the implications of this research for policy and practice, as well as how to sustain the researcher-practitioner partnership. 3 references