Homicide Bereavement Funding

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill:

Murder, or homicide, remains a shocking crime to all of us and one that has devastating consequences for the family and friends for those bereaved in such circumstances.

I am sure that we would all agree that it is vital that those bereaved through homicide should be adequately and appropriately supported to help them come to terms with their loss and to move forward with their lives. National charities such as Support After Murder and Manslaughter (SAMM) - http://www.samm.org.uk/ - and Mothers Against Murder And Aggression (MAMAA) - http://www.mamaa.org/ - do valuable work in this area.

It was therefore extremely concerning to learn recently that the Government is planning to withdraw the funding provided to agencies currently providing support to families that have suffered bereavement by homicide before 2010. To my mind it is absolutely essential that the ongoing support needs of these families are met.

Following a meeting with the Policing Minister yesterday, the indication was that PCCs would now be expected to assess and meet the needs of these bereaved families. This is extremely problematic, not least because it will require 41 separate PCCs to assess local need and to commission services for what will be a relatively small (albeit extremely important) cohort of families.

Given my understanding that to provide this service nationally would only cost an additional £250,000 more than is currently allocated I am calling on the Government to rethink this withdrawal of funding and have written to the Policing Minister accordingly.

Existing national charities must be allowed to continue with their excellent work in this area without fragmenting services and PCC’s should not be burdened with this responsibility which can be co-ordinated much more effectively at a national level and at relatively low cost in the grand scheme of victim support funding.


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