After Homicide: Practical and Political Responses to Bereavement

By Paul E. Rock | Go to book overview

5
Beginnings: From The Compassionate Friends to Parents of Murdered Children

Introduction

The organizations whose history is to be traced in this book may be described as 'self-help' groups, although they are more besides. There is no authoritative definition of 'self-help', but the Self-Help Centre of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations1 did provide a description in its 'training pack' for new groups, and that training pack was eventually to become in the possession of SAMM. If definitions are reflexively self-validating, that of the NCVO must be regarded as a good enough guide to some part of what Jane Cooper, the first coordinator of SAMM, and her colleagues learned to regard as 'self-help'.2 A self-help group, wrote Judy Wilson in the NCVO pack, will be organized around a common problem or condition, its members 'join[ing] to meet their own needs', and taking responsibility for themselves and for the joint management of the group.3

____________________
1
The NCVO was established in 1919 as the representative body for the voluntary sector in England' and claims a membership of some 600 national organisations.
2
She was eventually to tell Victim Support that '. . . individuals always talk of feelings of isolation, and of no one being able to understand their distress, their own "personal hell". This is where self-help or mutual support comes in. . . some reduction in personal isolation can be helped by talking to someone who has experienced a similar tragedy, and someone who has found some inner strength to survive that tragedy. It is so important to recognise that feelings and behaviours are normal; that they are not weird, strange or losing their minds. It is normal to feel weak, helpless, powerless, confused and out of control. People need to be helped not to feel negative about this. . .'; talk to N. Ireland Victim Support Victims of Violent Crime Workshop, 20-22 Jan 1995.
3
J. Wilson, Self-Help Groups: Getting started -- keeping going( Longmans, London, n.d.), 5.

-136-

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After Homicide: Practical and Political Responses to Bereavement
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • General Editors' Introduction vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xxvii
  • Contents xxix
  • Figures xxxi
  • Tables xxxii
  • Abbreviations xxxiii
  • Dramatis Personae xxxv
  • 1 - Homicide in England and Wales 1
  • 2 - Bereavement after Homicide 28
  • 3 - Bereavement as a Career 57
  • 4 - The Moral Economy of the Homicide Survivor 91
  • 5 - Beginnings: From The Compassionate Friends to Parents of Murdered Children 136
  • 6 - Victim Support and Parents of Murdered Children 168
  • 7 - The Campaigning Survivors: Justice for Victims, Activism, and the Mass Media 206
  • 8 - The Politics of Justice for Victims 241
  • 9 - The Evolution of SAMM 278
  • 10 - Conclusion 321
  • Index 334
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