Who are our Members? What do we do?
Formed over a decade ago, the Queensland Homicide Victims’ Support Group’s (QHVSG) foundations have been built on passion, enthusiasm for change, commitment to cause, and the altruistic nature of the Management Committee, Staff and Volunteers. These characteristics have enabled the QHVSG to develop a high quality and personalised support service to nearly 150 new families each year who experience first-hand the devastating effects of homicide.
Broadly, the QHVSG delivers services to those who identify as having lost a loved one to homicide. The obvious examples of this include parents, grandparents, siblings, children and extended family of the deceased. However in reality, the term ‘loved one’ can extend beyond this immediate family. Often we find that close neighbours and friends, colleagues, and school and work mates suffer emotionally, physically and financially from the loss of someone to homicide. Such is the devastation and trauma of homicide that entire communities are often affected, and struggle to understand the horror of what has happened.
Whilst the QHVSG focuses on promoting its services towards immediate family and friends, it is not uncommon to find staff and volunteers supporting several individuals – each with varying relationships to the deceased – as the result of each new homicide.
The QHVSG offers a truly unique service. For many living in the aftermath of homicide, their healing is often accelerated from speaking with others who have ‘been there too’. Many victims of homicide believe that the general community cannot understand what they are going through, and many more are unable to articulate the pain and anguish they are going through. With 70% of QHVSG’s volunteers and 60% of QHVSG’s current staff identifying as victims of homicide, QHVSG exemplifies its model of ‘peer support’. As one QHVSG member explained, joining QHVSG was like ‘stepping in out of the rain’.
The QHVSG is not only an organization with strong ties to the community and commitment to promote the rights of homicide victims, but is fundamentally, a place of solace and refuge for those who are attempting to piece their lives back together after the tragic and senseless loss of someone they love. With this in mind, QHVSG is proud to offer the following services to its members:
Who funds us?
QHSVG thanks Victim Assist Queensland (VAQ) for its ongoing funding and support. To supplement this, QHVSG regularly initiates fundraising ventures including garage sales, raffles, markets or private donations.
Where does QHVSG get its referrals from?
QHVSG’s main referrer is the Queensland Police Service. In 2002, QHVSG and the QPS implemented a “Fax-Back” system. This means that as soon as a homicide occurs, QHVSG are notified by the police by way of fax. This system ensures that homicide victims have access to support soon after the homicide, when it can be of most value!
QHVSG often receives referrals from other sources including word of mouth, the internet, the Department of Justice, the Department of Public Prosecutions, Legal Aid, Queensland Mental Health, the Royal Brisbane Hospital, or counseling services.
What services does QHVSG offer?
- Assistance with writing applications for compensation
- Emergency financial assistance
- 24-hour phone support
- Court support
- Personal support / home visits
- Respite accommodation
- Support meetings
- Monthly newsletter
- Assistance with understanding the legal system
- Advice with housing issues
- Referrals to counseling services
- Referrals to other support services (i.e. drug or alcohol abuse)
- Respite accommodation for individuals and families
- Assistance with writing victim impact statements
- Personal advocacy for members
- Referrals to legal advisors
- Community education and awareness presentations
QHVSG currently employs one full time, and four part time staff. Three of these positions are “support roles”, whereas the others are administration / executive staff. The qualifications of QHVSG’s staff differs, but generally we look for mature minded people with a strong degree of experience (either life, work or academic) in community / welfare matters, with a strong sense of social justice and preferably, experience in traumatic grief and loss.
QHVSG relies heavily on a further team of volunteers to help the group achieves its organizational objectives. QHVSG currently boasts a team of fifty trained volunteers, with a further number supporting QHVSG on an irregular basis (i.e. help with setting up for events)