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What to Do When the Police Leave: A Guide to the First Days of Traumatic Loss

NCJ Number
Bill Jenkins
Date Published
74 pages
Designed to be distributed during the death notification process to families who are suffering the traumatic loss of a family member, this book provides guidance for dealing with the shock and grief of the loss.
The author first advises that the grieving victim should have a friend contact the local victim assistance program, so that the victim services available may be tapped. This should be followed by efforts to gather a support system to provide practical help and emotional support. One of the first tasks of a support member is to start notifying the people who most need to know about the death. Talking to children about the death must be handled particularly carefully. Someone in the support system must be responsible for protecting the family's privacy in contacts with the media. Family members should try to rest and focus on their health concerns. This should include soliciting advice and referrals from the family doctor, getting time off from work-related responsibilities, being honest with others about emotions, exercising, eating well, and getting proper rest. The book also provides guidance on making funeral arrangements, talking to the police further about the homicide, and dealing with other legal matters related to the death. Guidance is also provided in the performance of other difficult tasks, such as identifying the body, being questioned as a witness, and the reclaiming of personal belongings. Suggestions are offered for helping a grieving friend.