Home and family

For most children and young people bereaved by domestic homicide, home can no longer be their home. They may be placed in care, with family members or family friends or move to independent living if they are older.

Often, children and young people have to move several times, creating instability and ruptures in new attachments.

Conversely, living arrangements can help promote a sense of stability/continuity for children and young people when they help maintain access to their school, friends, family and neighbourhood.

Children’s relationship with their family can vary greatly, and siblings don’t necessarily experience things in the same way. Some children and young people have a positive relationship with both sides of their family, while others may prefer not to contact them.

Many may also experience tensions between family members, which can cause loyalty conflicts. Additionally, a child or young person’s culture and traditions will shape the meaning and role of family in their life.

Caregivers who are also family members can struggle to support a child’s or young person’s needs due to their own grief, anger, feelings of guilt or other emotions. They may experience economic hardship and need financial support to care for a child or young person.

Questions for reflection:

  • What role does the child or young person’s sibling/s play in their life? In what ways are siblings’ views similar and different, and do they want to live together?
  • How can we help prevent or mediate tensions between sides of the family?
  • How can we continue supporting caregivers and family members in the mid to long-term after domestic homicide?

Next section: Contact with the perpetrator

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