Workshop to focus on murder’s aftermath

Sarnia is hosting a special one-day event to help families of murder victims and the people who try and help them.

The Aftermath of Murder is a two-part workshop April 10 aimed at meeting the unique needs of survivors of homicide, as well as helping train police, courts, clergy and policy-makers.

“These folks deserve the best possible support,” said Colleen Sim, executive director of Victim Services of Sarnia-Lambton.

The agency provides continuing help to eight to 10 local families with murdered loved ones, said executive director Colleen Sim.

“There are more here than you might think,’ she said. “These (are homicides) that happened outside of our county, so they’re not in the newspapers.”

A full-day workshop on how murder impacts families, led by Yvonne Harvey, co-founder of Canadian Parents of Murdered Children, is aimed at front-line workers who have regular contact with survivors.

Patricia Hung, a Toronto police officer, writer and grief coach, will discuss “joy in the aftermath,” an evening presentation on homicide survivor challenges.

Hung was the mother of Stefanie Rengel, a teen stabbed to death in front of their East York family home in 2008. The 14-year-old was lured outside and murdered New Year’s Day by David Bagshaw, 17, who was goaded into the act by his 15-year-old girlfriend.

Sim heard Hung speak at last year’s national Victims of Crime Awareness Week in Ottawa.

“When I saw her, I thought about all the people that we’re providing on-going support to because there’s nowhere for them to go here,” said Sim. “I’m ecstatic that’s she’s coming. I’m hoping a lot of people, including survivors of homicide and people with friends who have been killed, come to hear her message.”

The workshop runs all day at the Holiday Inn.

For more, or to register, visit www.victimservices.on.ca or call 519-344-8861, ext. 5236.