Peer support services follow the belief that individuals who have lived experience of homicide, and can better relate to other individuals trying to deal with similar experience, than those who have not had that experience. By listening empathetically, sharing their experiences and offering suggestions based on that experience, people with a lived experience of a homicide are uniquely able to help others like themselves.
Sharing lived experiences provides multiple perspectives of the experience, thereby broadening understanding. The accumulated knowledge drawn from the lifelong learning journeys of many people becomes an invaluable source of insights and an unmatched source of support and inspiration for people dealing with the violent death of a loved one.
The peer support approach promotes a wellness model. Assisting a person to find and develop their own personal resources empowers the individual with the belief that they can and do have control over their life. Peer support provides a low-cost approach to the provision of support and assistance which allows for freedom of participation, when and where required, without waiting lists or limitations on number of visits.
“Peer support is based on the belief that people who have faced, endured, and overcome adversity can offer useful support, encouragement, hope, and perhaps mentorship to others facing similar situations” (Davidson, Chainman, Sells, & Rowe, 2006).