Loss, bereavement, and grief are unique to everyone. But what if you’ve been bereaved due to youth violence?

Last year we were approached by Karen Green Stewart, who lost her son Lamar to murder in 2017. Karen shared her experiences of bereavement and how she felt there wasn’t the right support model in place for parents whose children had lost their lives to youth violence. We knew we wanted to work together, to better understand the needs and what could be done to address those needs.

We recognised this wasn’t something we could do on our own. We partnered with UCL so we could carry out meaningful qualitative research to help inform our next steps. The result was a piece of pilot research, which we hoped would help inform development of a new model or service to support parents who have lost a child due to youth violence. This initial research indicated families felt that current support is inadequate, too general and does not consider the long-term effects this trauma can have on a family and the wider networks.

We knew this was just the beginning. When a life is lost the impact ripples outwards, with a wide network of people reeling from the effects. We wanted to know what support was out there not just for parents, but for siblings, other relatives, and friends. As well as the wider community including local neighborhoods and schools.

Now we’ve widened our partnership with UCL, working collaboratively with Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and bereavement experts Child Bereavement UK. By working in partnership with these organisations and with Karen herself, we’re working towards developing or informing an effective model of support. A model built for those who need it, by those who need it.

We can’t do this alone. We’re inviting people to take part in research, which will help inform what this new model or approach will look like. To do this we need the voices, experiences, and opinions of those who have lost someone as a result of youth violence – whether this be your child, other family member or friend. Together we can help create change and build a better model of support for those affected by bereavement through murder. Something that we hope will be a fitting legacy for Lamar and his family.

About the research

What will the research involve?

Research participants will be required to take part in an hour one-to-one video or telephone interview with the UCL research team. You will be asked about the support you received following your bereavement and your thoughts and suggestions on how that support could be improved.

What is in it for those who take part?

This is an opportunity to help shape a model of support designed specifically to support individuals and families who have lost someone to youth violence. The aim is to ensure that anyone who experiences a devastating loss in this manner can get the support they need, when they need it.

Participants will also receive a £30 voucher as a thank you for their time.

Who can take part?

Who: Individuals or families with personal experience of losing a child, other family member or friend
Age: Minimum age is 13 years old (no maximum age)
Location: UK

The loss experienced can be historical. Regardless of whether the incident took place 3, 5 or 10 years ago, those affected are still encouraged to take part.  

Will there be support available?

We understand the topics covered in the interview are likely to be distressing to discuss. Therefore, Safer London’s Loss and Bereavement Advocate will have a follow-up call to check in on your wellbeing. We will also be able to offer longer term support of up to 8 sessions for those who feel they need additional support.

This specialist Loss and Bereavement Advocate is a secondee from Child Bereavement UK and has expert knowledge and experience in supporting individuals and families experiencing loss.


How to take part

This research project has now closed and we are no longer accepting participants.

People who sign up to the research can have access to free support from Nneka Okafor, Safer London’s Loss and Bereavement Advocate.