Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions…
We encourage you to call or email the Homicide Victims’ Support Group with any questions you might have.
To provide support, information and counseling for families and friends affected by the murder of a loved one.
To educate the general community and professional bodies about the needs of people affected by homicide and to increase effective communication between all parties that come into contact with families of homicide victims, thus promoting understanding.
To promote the interests and rights of families of homicide victims, lobbying for legislative change wherever inequities or loopholes exist.
“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.
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.
“Some people cross to the other side of the road when they see me coming”
Greif 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 complete, whether mental illness is involved, when the accused enters a plea. In NSW it can take approximately 12 to 18 months 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 bought by the State of 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 decisionion for themselves.
Other people ask about the investigation and not the victim/deceased, the trial/offender can overshadow the deceased at times.
“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. 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.