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Helping Families and Friends Cope with the Loss of a Loved One to Homicide 

Losing a loved one to homicide is an incredibly traumatic experience that can leave families and friends grappling with a range of emotions and practical challenges. We understand the profound impact such a loss can have on individuals and communities. Our mission is to provide support, guidance, and resources to help those affected navigate this difficult journey. No one should have to navigate the journey of grief alone. Through compassionate support, practical assistance, and connection to resources, we are here to help families and friends cope with the profound loss of a loved one to homicide.  

Understanding the Effects of Homicide Loss 

The effects of losing a loved one to homicide are complex and can be overwhelming. It’s essential to recognize and acknowledge the diverse ways in which individuals may be impacted:  

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Emotional Impact: The emotional toll of homicide loss can be intense and long-lasting. Survivors may experience a range of emotions, including shock, anger, guilt, sadness, and profound grief. These emotions may come in waves and can be unpredictable, making it challenging to cope with daily life. 

Physical Impact: The stress and trauma of losing a loved one to homicide can manifest physically, leading to symptoms such as insomnia, loss of appetite, fatigue, and even physical illness. Survivors must prioritize self-care and seek medical attention if needed. 

Financial Impact: In addition to the emotional and physical toll, homicide loss can also have significant financial implications. Families may face unexpected expenses such as funeral costs, legal fees, and loss of income if the deceased was a primary breadwinner. Loss of wages due to missed work also plays a factor in the financial impact experienced through homicide loss. This financial strain can exacerbate an already challenging situation. 

What is Crime Victim Compensation?  

There is a program in Iowa that can possibly help with the financial burden that comes with experiencing a homicide loss.


Our advocates can help you understand crime victim compensation. It’s a program developed to help victims with costs related to homicide and violent crimes. Some expenses eligible for reimbursement may include, but are not limited to:   

  • Funeral expenses 
  • Lost wages 
  • Counseling 
  • Medical expenses 
  • Crime scene clean-up 
  • Child or dependent care 
  • Housing/shelter expenses 

Connecting Families with Local Resources 

Finding the right support and resources is essential for families and friends coping with homicide loss.

We can help connect survivors with local resources tailored to their specific needs. Every county in Iowa has a homicide and violent crimes program to help families navigate the aftermath. These programs ensure survivors’ rights, safety, and healing are given priority and quality care. We can help connect you with your local program, as well as any other resource you may need. 

How to Support Someone Through Homicide Loss 

One of the most important ways to support families and friends coping with homicide loss is by offering a compassionate and listening ear. Here are some ways you can be there for them:  

Listen without Judgment: Allow survivors to express their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment. Validate their emotions and let them know that their experiences are valid. 

Be Present: Sometimes, the most meaningful support comes from simply being present with someone who is grieving. Offer your time and companionship, whether it’s through phone calls, visits, or virtual meetings. Check in on holidays and other meaningful days. 

Offer Practical Assistance: In addition to emotional support, offer practical assistance with tasks such as meal preparation, childcare, or running errands. These small gestures can make a big difference in easing the burden on grieving families. 

Victims’ Rights in Iowa 

People who lose a family member to homicide are considered crime victims. We want you to know that as a crime victim, you have rights in Iowa. Your primary rights under Iowa law include:  

1. The right to a victim advocate.  

2. The right to apply for crime victim compensation. 

3. The right to notification regarding the criminal case.  

4. The right to victim restitution from the offender.  

5. The right to a victim impact statement.