Children and Youth's Innovative
Homicide Support Program
We are excited to share with you the latest development at Parkerville Children and Youth Care - our groundbreaking Homicide Support Program.
Proudly supported by the Government of Western Australia's Criminal Property Confiscation Grants Program, this program is designed to provide specialised psychological support and assessment services tailored to children, young people and their families who have been affected by homicide, helping them cope with the trauma and loss that comes with such devastating events.
The need for Parkerville's Homicide Support Program stems from a growing concern. In 2021, Western Australia witnessed 74 homicides, with a staggering 25% of them being directly related to family and domestic violence. These alarming statistics highlighted the urgent need for specialised psychological services tailored to the unique challenges faced by children and young people impacted by trauma, particularly within the context of homicide.
Parkerville has a long-standing commitment to providing trauma informed services, making it a natural choice to address this pressing need. With a history of expertise in this field, we recognise that children and young people impacted by homicide likely experience similar symptoms and difficulties as those facing other traumatic situations such as Child Sexual Abuse and Family and Domestic Violence.
In a bid to address the complex and deeply emotional aftermath of homicide, Parkerville's program takes a unique and comprehensive approach. Our mission is to help children, young people, and their families rebuild their lives by offering tailored treatment plans that focus on improving daily functioning, reducing anxiety and depression, addressing grief and loss, and providing support for trauma resulting from their experiences. Our ultimate goal is to alleviate symptoms, enhance functioning, and facilitate trauma processing when appropriate.
The foundation of our program lies in evidence-based treatment strategies. We use a range of proven methods, including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EDMR), Behavioural Therapy, and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, among others. These therapeutic approaches help individuals and families heal and recover, adapting to their unique needs and circumstances.
One of the key elements of the Homicide Support Program is the consideration of victim-offender dialogue. Before facilitating contact between family members and the accused while they are in prison, a psychological assessment is conducted to determine the appropriate supports and interventions. This assessment is vital in assessing the readiness and emotional well-being of family members, guiding the decision-making process regarding whether and how contact should occur.
Our focus is not solely on reducing symptoms; we also aim to empower children and young people to manage feelings of grief and loss, ultimately improving their emotional well-being. Through the program, we have been supporting clients to develop their emotional competency, emotional regulation skills, and adaptive coping strategies, enhancing their capacity to heal and recover.
Another key aspect of our program involves providing psychoeducation and support to clients and their caregivers. This helps them better understand trauma and its impact on psychosocial functioning and the broader family unit, as well as themes related to grief and loss. By increasing awareness and knowledge, we equip families with the tools to navigate the complex emotions and myriad of challenges that often accompany such a traumatic experience.
Additionally, we provide comprehensive support to primary caregivers, helping them gain a better understanding of trauma-informed strategies and support the implementation of attachment-focused and behavioural management strategies. By strengthening the support network around the child or young person, we foster an environment conducive to healing and growth.
Parkerville Children and Youth's Homicide Support Program is a testament to the organisation's dedication to supporting the most vulnerable in our society. It is a lifeline for those who have been impacted by homicide, offering hope and healing.