Violent Loss Resources Newsletter, September 1, 2016

            Topic of the Month:  Prosecuting the Case, Continued

            Question of the Month: What happened in your case?

            News: National Day for Remembering Homicide Victims

            Resource of the Month

            Inspiration



Topic of the Month:
Prosecuting the case, Chapter Seven, Murder Survivor’s Handbook.

webMurder_Survivor-front-cover-sticker-2500webWhile there are many families who do get their case heard in a court of law; there are those who are still waiting for their day in court. This newsletter will address cold cases in the future. In this issue we will focus on those who do get to go to court.  The following is an excerpt from the book:

Prosecutor Prior writes the following questions on the back of her business card and encourages families to ask the questions each time they meet:

When is the next court date?

What can I expect?

Will anything new happen?

Is the case still going as planned?

What can I do to help?

Prior to court, I was told how I should act and dress; I was told to refrain from losing my mind and trying to kill this murderer, or at least that’s what I heard. I dressed nicely and answered the questions, but if looks could kill, I was trying . . . it didn’t work. (Kaila)

Trial Timeline

  • Pre-Trial Conferences
  • Jury Selection
  • Trial Starts
  • Opening Statements
  • State Presents Its Case
  • Defense Presents Its Case
  • Rebuttals by Prosecution and Defense
  • Closing Arguments
  • Jury Instructions
  • Verdict
  • Sentencing

 Twenty-eight years later an arrest was made. After two years of court hearings, a plea agreement was reached for 2nd degree murder. (Halia)

More Surprises:

  • Request to change the venue (location) of the trial.
  • Attempts to keep witnesses from testifying.
  • Your loved one is described in discrediting terms. This may have already happened during police interviews.
  • Disappointments can occur when the prosecutor does not take into consideration what the family wants. One mother was convinced that her son’s murder was a hate crime. She remained angry at the prosecutor for not adding this to the charges.Read much more in Murder Survivors Handbook.


Question of the Month: What happened in your cas
e? Can you relate in some way to the above excerpt? What tips do you have for others?



News: Mark your calendar.  National Day of Remembrance of Murder Victims is September 25. 
Thanks to Parents of Murder Children (POMC)  who worked to have this day every year set aside to put on different events to honor murdered loved ones. Activities encourage support for families and communities.  Check your local resources for activities in your community.

If you are in San Diego go to the link below for more information about the event.You will be given the opportunity to speak about your loved one’s life, who they were and how you would like them to be remembered. Ceremony for National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. Saturday, September 24 at 10 AM – 1 PM. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/185416058528433/permalink/210963475973691/



Resource of the Month: Victims of Crime Resource Center, University of the Pacific-McGeorge School of Law, http://www.1800vivtims.org/



Inspiration: Take a look at images of previous River of Remembrance events on the Annual Day of Remembrance of Loved Ones of Murder Victims put on by Survivors of Violent Loss.



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Violent Loss Resources Team — Contact us

Connie Saindon: csaindon@svlp.org
Larry Edwards: larry@larryedwards.com

 

 

Violent Loss Resources Newsletter,  August 1, 2016
News you can use … collected for you in July. (Scroll down to see all)

Contents will vary somewhat month to month, as we close out this month, our contents include:

            Topic of the Month:  Prosecuting the Case: Survivor Voices

            Question of the Month:  What happened in your case?

            Quote

            News: Two Day Conference 2017: Traumatic Grief after Violent Dying

            Inspiration: “Not Forgotten” Project in Chicago contains  photos and interviews

            Resource of the Month: Victim Law

            What you missed last month           



Topic of the Month: Chapter Seven, Prosecuting the Case
: The importance and complexity involved in this topic is large enough that this topic will continue next month as well.  This month the  focus will be on Survivor Experiences.

 Excerpts from Murder Survivors Handbook webMurder_Survivor-front-cover-sticker-2500web

Here are what some Survivors have to say about this topic:

The FBI had a prime suspect in my parents’ deaths—my younger brother. They wanted to prosecute, but the U.S. attorney’s office refused, saying that without bodies, with little forensic evidence, and having an unreliable witness (my youngest sister, who failed two lie-detector tests and vowed to lie in court), that the odds of getting a guilty verdict were too low to risk incurring jeopardy. (Harrier)

When the case stalled, I met with the U.S. attorney assigned to the case. He explained why there would likely be no prosecution, no trial—the case was circumstantial; there were no bodies; there was little forensic evidence; and my sister was not a reliable witness. He did not want to risk incurring jeopardy by losing the case. (Harrier)

Often it will feel like it is more about the system than it is about justice. It will seem like every consideration is being given to the Defense, on behalf of the Defendant….(Valeria)

 Our charges were worked out behind closed doors with input from the Judge. We were advised up front that the justice system did not allow tailoring charges to increase the available sentencing options. We were given a voice only in the crafting of the plea offers, and then it was advisory in nature. We did, however, feel that the State took into account our perspective and the degree of concurrence we expressed was communicated to the judge at sentencing. ( JJ )’

It was a time when our private and public self felt so disconnected, and the hard work we had put into managing our emotions and grief was challenged on a regular basis throughout the trial. (Valeria)

  I was told that my telling of domestic abuse was not relevant to the case, but I feel that it was the reason my sister was murdered; because I left my abusive boyfriend, and he couldn’t find me, so he found my sister and murdered her.(Kaila)

 When court comes into session, they ask if the judge, the recorder, the prosecutor, the defendant, and the defendant’s attorney is present. They don’t even care or ask if the victim’s family is there. In a lot of cases, I think the defense would be very happy if we were not there. (Kaila)

Twenty-eight years later an arrest was made. After two years of court hearings, a plea agreement was reached for 2nd degree murder. (Halia)

Means, Motive, and Opportunity

The prosecution of a case does not mean motive has to be proven, but the jury does want to know why it happened. Did the defendant have the means, motive, and opportunity to do what he or she is charged with? In our Survivor Writer stories, some of the motives they believe were:

Marina: Oldest motive in the book. Dad planned to end his relationship with his abusive girlfriend, and she was enraged at the loss of a wealthy man to support her lifestyle! …

Harrier: He got caught doing something wrong.

Rose: Prevent having his life disrupted by his son’s existence; it would ruin him . . . child support was secondary.

Kaila:Revenge.” How dare I leave the man that loved me. He Murdered my sister because I left him.

Yvonne: Random act, opportunity, found someone alone and vulnerable.

Mary: I do personally feel that these 6 teens were stupid and immature. I believe they were bored and thought it was okay to get their kicks that night by beating someone up and causing someone an injury….

Question of the Month – What happened in your case? Subscribe now … and follow up to let us know your thoughts by adding your comments about anything in this article.

Quote: Though you can never really be prepared for the unique challenges that will come your way, we hope that by relating our experiences and what we learned in our journey … you will gain insight and confidence by which to navigate the process, should you ever have to. (Valeria)



News: Two Day “Traumatic Grief after Violent Dying”
Conference being planned for April 8 & 9, 2017 in  San Diego, CA. Sponsors include Ted Rynearson, MD Virginia Mason Medical Center, and Sid Zisook, MD; University of California, San Diego. Planning Committee includes Connie Saindon, Founder of Survivors of Violent Loss; Ilanit Young, San Diego VA Center; Linda Pena, Director of S.D.DA’s Victim Assistance Center;  Charles Nelson, Trauma Recovery Center; Kathleen Barnum, Elizabeth Hospice; Mary Edwards, Victim Assistance Coordinating Council with generous financial support from Carmela Caldera. *Mark your calendar.



Inspiration:
Not Forgotten: Chicago Street Memorials.  Journalist Ann-Marie Cusac and former Emergency Room MD Thomas Ferrella have teamed up to produce interviews and photography for a show at the Cage Gallery 18 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago running from September 29- December 3rd, 2016. Here is a link for more information for you poster



Resource of the Month: Victim Law: https://www.victimlaw.org/

Victim Law is a searchable database of victims’ rights legal provisions including federal, state, and territorial statutes, tribal laws, state constitutional amendments, court rules, administrative code provisions, and summaries of related court decisions and attorney general opinions.

Victim Law currently contains legal provisions relating to the following 10 basic rights of crime victims:

  • The right to attend and be present at criminal justice proceedings;
  • The right to be heard in the criminal justice process, including the right to confer with the prosecutor and submit a victim impact statement at sentencing, parole, and other similar proceedings;
  • The right to be informed of proceedings and events in the criminal justice process, including the release or escape of the offender, legal rights and remedies, and available benefits and services, and access to records, referrals, and other information;
  • The right to protection, including protection from intimidation and harassment;
  • The right to privacy;
  • The right to apply for crime victim compensation;
  • The right to restitution from the offender;
  • The right to the expeditious return of personal property seized as evidence whenever possible;
  • The right to a speedy trial and other proceedings free from unreasonable delay; and
  • The right to enforcement of these rights and access to other available remedies.


What you missed last month:

Topic of the Month:  The Criminal Justice Process

            Question of the Month- What tips do you have?

            News: Orlando 

            Inspiration: I’ll cry again

            Book Resource: Accidental Truth



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Violent Loss Resources Team — Contact us

Connie Saindon: csaindon@svlp.org
Larry Edwards: larry@larryedwards.com

 

 

Violent Loss Resources Newsletter,  July 1, 2016

News you can use … collected for you in June. (Scroll down to see all.)

Contents include:

Topic of the Month:  The Criminal Justice Process
Question of the Month: What tips do you have?
News: Orlando
Inspiration: I’ll Cry Again
Book Resource: Accidental Truth
What you missed last month


Topic of the Month:


Murder Survivor’s Handbook
Chapter Six: The Criminal Justice Process  MSH in court

This chapter is full of helpful information, and much more than I can place in a monthly newsletter for you. So, I have chosen the contribution of a couple who were committed to helping others after their ordeal.  Let us know if you find this helpful or if you have something to add.

This photo of Murder Survivor’s Handbook is of a survivor in court.  She took the book with her every day to look things up and to help her ask questions of her advocate and prosecutor.

Courthouse Survival Advice

Once a trial date has been set, your next challenge is attending court proceedings with its rules and protocols. Bonnie and John had to endure this twice after their 80-year-old mother was raped and killed. They wrote Courthouse Survival Advice in the hopes that it would help others. Their heartfelt, practical advice continues to help families everywhere.

Bonnie and John start out by advising what to wear, not only to help give a good impression but also for comfort and ease. They know the stress you will experience. You can tell by their tone that they are speaking from the heart in wanting to help you from their own difficult experience of having to go through this process twice. This guide is several pages long and worth every word. Send copies to everyone you know that is following your case. Below is just a sample of the document. It is a must read.

  • Clothing – first of all, if you are clean and look halfway neat, you look better than most of the people at the courthouse. If you want to be dealing with the press, dress accordingly. They will put slobs on TV, but they don’t like to. Like it or not, there is often a lot of PR necessary in getting justice for your loved one. The lawyers will be wearing suits. The criminal may too. You don’t have to go so far as high heels or coat and tie, but stay away from the cutoffs and T-shirts.
  • Line up at least five (Monday through Friday) “easy-to-care-for and easy-to-live-in” outfits. I’d suggest an emphasis on comfortable clothing that you can sit in for hours, if necessary, without a lot of fussing, tucking, pinching and riding up.
  • Find a non-fussy hairdo and non-fussy makeup, etc. Pare down as much primping as you can in the morning, since you’ll be needing more sleep than you are used to needing. Fair warning – even good-quality eye makeup tends to run when you cry –and there’s nothing like courthouse proceedings to reduce you to tears.
  • Start taking VERY GOOD care of yourself, if you aren’t already. Work your schedule to allow you to get more sleep, take your vitamins, and get some calm exercise. Avoid caffeine; take it easy on junk food. You may find you will be more prone to colds, stomach upsets, etc. Stress will do you in.

There is so much more to their very helpful article; read more of it online and add your own pieces to it. Their article is available on the Survivors of Violent Loss Program website and listed in Resources at the end of this chapter.



Question of the Month
:

What tips do you have for Survivors and for Criminal Justice Professionals to help others who will be required to take this difficult journey?



News:

The mourners in Orlando need to know they are not alone and have our support. They want to know how we have survived.  What can each of us do?  If you have lived the life of having someone who was killed violently, you relive your loss when this kind of incident is in the news.  Read the news and not watch it on TV so much.  The TV news coverage tends to replay the same very distressed folks over and over again.  Protect yourself and your ability to function.  Please send us your ideas.



Inspiration:

I’ll Cry Again …

I cry again, this time for Orlando (6-16-16)

I cry again, this time for the Boston Marathon;

Time before it was the removal of memorabilia from the grave site of a murdered mother and infant;

Before that, I cried again and again and again for Sandy Hook;

I cry again for the first conversations between Dad and Yvonne about her mother who was murdered when she was just ten.

I’ll cry again, and again and again …

I cry when I read about the lives of homicide detectives, and how their lives are impacted.  The horrors they attempt to objectify to pursue the who-dun-its. The disappointments and blame they take on when justice isn’t served.

I’ll cry again when being safe is an illusion and being free is thwarted …

Can’t run a marathon, can’t go to first grade, can’t leave objects of love at a grave site, can’t go to class, can’t drive home from work, can’t go to work, can’t say no to going to the Prom, can’t say no when asked for a cigarette, can’t ride a bike in one’s neighborhood … can’t play at the park, can’t help a friend or sister out with her abusive boyfriend … can’t open your door at home, can’t have visitation at mom’s …

I’ll cry again, again and again …

I will continue to cry … and not go to Murder Mystery Cafes, watch made-up murder stories, nor support guns. It is now my nature to live life seriously.

As I know I will cry again, and again and again.

The tears won’t stop. There are too many stories in addition to the new ones that pile on.

Nor will it end for me not to buffer my tears with roses, irises, lavender, gardens, quiet, photography, cooking adventures,  walks along the ocean, cups of tea, turning off the TV and more …

I know I will cry again … it is the nature  of murder … and I will fight back with reciprocal intensity at what is beautiful in this world.

I  know that I grow and increase my convictions with the strengths I see in each survivor  I know.

I know we will cry …

Connie Saindon  (4-15-13)  



Book Resources: Accidental Truth

This book is a memoir of a daughter, Lauri Taylor, who would not give up the search for who murdered her mom.  A housewife who navigated four years between two countries and multiple helpful and not helpful criminal justice professionals to reach a final and surprising ending—the truth.  There are lots of lessons in this journey about working with and outside the criminal justice system.



Quote: Sandra Levy ‘s mother said
on the NBC Today Show, 5/3/16, that when  she was told that the convicted killer was getting a new trial, No matter what we still lost our daughter.  Sandra’s mom uses art to help others because she knows the media moves on, but the families don’t.



What you missed last month:

Topic of the Month:  The Homicide Investigation
Question of the Month: What tips and lessons would you like to pass on to others?
Resource of the Month: Black’s Online Law Dictionary
Inspiration: Some things have to be carried …
Book Resource: R.I.P Memorial Wall



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Violent Loss Resources Team — Contact us

Connie Saindon: csaindon@svlp.org
Larry Edwards: larry@larryedwards.com

Violent Loss Resources Newsletter, June 1, 2016
News you can use … collected for you in May. (Scroll down to see all)

Contents will vary somewhat month to month, as we close out this month, our contents include:MeMe

Topic of the Month:  The Homicide Investigation

Question of the Month: What tips and lessons would you like to pass on to others?

Resource of the Month: Black’s Online Law Dictionary

Inspiration: Some things have to be carried …

Book Resource: R.I.P Memorial Wall

Add your Voice and Tips

 


Topic of the Month: The Homicide Investigation

Excerpt: Murder Survivor’s Handbook,  Chapter Five:

webMurder_Survivor-front-cover-sticker-2500webIn the United State of America, one person is murdered every 35.6 minutes. (FBI, 2010)

Your life has been thrown into a well-developed system, a paramilitary system: the criminal justice system. More than likely you have had little experience with this system, and no matter how many movies or TV shows you have watched, you probably know little of how the system actually works.

Richard Wissemann, Supervising Investigator for the San Diego District Attorney’s office, says, “The real problem is that most people believe CSI is truly real, including the families and, unfortunately, the Jury. DNA cannot be identified in half an hour. [TV watching] can hurt as much as help your case.”

It’s important for you to remember that law enforcement’s primary duty is to the deceased, not to the survivors. In their effort to protect the integrity of the case, law enforcement will share little or no information with you. Respectfulness by all sides will go a long way in helping here.

I was surprised to learn that I knew nothing about the legal system. (Kaila)

 The problem for survivors is that they want answers to their questions, but the investigators won’t provide those answers if it is premature.

Tips for Dealing with Law Enforcement

  • Develop a good relationship with your investigator. You are on the same side. Their style and what they must do may result in only a good but not great working relationship.
  • Many people wonder why police don’t question the suspect first. Here is an example, from Michael Corwin’s Homicide Special (2004), on the way detectives may proceed to question the list of people who have knowledge of their murder victim:

 They decide to approach the case . . . in concentric circles, interviewing peripheral players first, then gradually moving inward . . . and finally to potential suspects. . . .  Interviewing the suspects (first) would be useless, as the police have no witnesses, no concrete evidence, and no leverage.

 The beginning of a criminal-death investigation has as many variations as each murder has. One variation is shown in a movie made in India called No One Killed Jessica (2011). This movie reveals how a rich kid, in spite of many eye witnesses, got away with murder. Only after a journalist rallied public support did the legal system eventually take action, many years later, and get a conviction.


Question of the Month

What tips and lessons would you like to pass on to others about the Homicide Investigation?

Harrier
Keep an open mind. Acknowledge that when a family member is involved, you cannot be objective.

Marina
I don’t have any tips or lessons. This phase of the process did not last long enough. But don’t imagine that a quick arrest means automatic success down the road.

 Mary
Stay as calm and respectful as possible.
If you rant and rave, the police will shut you out and not keep you informed. Remember that you want their concentration to be on finding the killers and not on dealing with hysterical family members

 Take notes all along the way and document details about your contacts and the process.

 Read more in Chapter Five of Murder Survivor’s Handbook.


Resource of the Month

Black’s Law Dictionary: Free Online Legal Dictionary

Black’s Law Dictionary, the trusted legal dictionary of law definitions and terms for over 100 years. The 2nd edition has over 15K legal terms for your business and research use.

Not All Homicides Are Murder

In Chapter Five of  Murder Survivor’s Handbook there is a section called: Not all homicides are are murder. Many of  you question the charge that is being pursued in your case.  The book lists several different categories of homicide, manslaughter, and murder, with a description of each.

There are many terms that you will hear in the beginning of the investigation that will both confuse and baffle.  I was told about Black’s Free Law Dictionary from someone who works in the attorney general’s office in Florida when we exchanged ideas at a conference.  Many survivors and advocates  do not understand many words they are introduced to. I  have used this resource myself for this book.

If you are like me, you may want to read the definitions more than once. The amount of stress you are under will challenge comprehension. Check with your key contacts regarding their use or understanding of these terms, especially as it fits your situation.

We are not expected to have a criminal law degree, so I hope this resource will help you. We have words for different areas of our lives at  home, work, and pleasure for deeper specificity. I have words that fit inside my world of cooking, photography, and psychology. Criminal law has its own words as well.

What legal terms baffled you? Add your Voice and Tips


Inspiration by Tim Laurence, Journalist and Psychotherapist

My mentor, Megan Devine, has so beautifully said: “Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.”

Grief is brutally painful. Grief does not only occur when someone dies. When relationships fall apart, you grieve. When opportunities are shattered, you grieve. When illnesses wreck you, you grieve.

Losing a child cannot be fixed. Being diagnosed with a debilitating illness cannot be fixed. Facing the betrayal of your closest confidante cannot be fixed. These things can only be carried.


Book Resources

R.I.P Memorial Wall Art by Joseph wall art webSciorra & Martha Cooper.

In the city of New York, families rarely get to visit the grave site of their loved ones, as the cemeteries are outside the city.  In response to this difficulty, Memorial Art honoring loved ones are placed on walls near where family and friends can gather for remembrance activities.  This is a photo book of this important art.

 Add your Voice and Tips


What you missed last month:         

Resource of the Month: VACC: Victim Assistance Coordinating Council
Topic of the Month:
The Early Response
Question of the Month:
How did you find out about your loved one(s) death?              Tips?
News:
Meet the MSH Team Eleven-Plus
Book Resources: All the Wrong Places: A life lost and found by Philip Connors, author of Fire Season



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Violent Loss Resources Team — Contact us

Connie Saindon: csaindon@svlp.org
Larry Edwards: larry@larryedwards.com

 

 

 

Violent Loss Newsletter, May 1, 2016

News you can use … (scroll down to see all)

Contents will vary somewhat month to month. As we close out this month, our contents include:

  • Resource of the Month—VACC: Victim Assistance Coordinating Council.
  • Topic of the Month: The Early Response
  • Question of the Month: How did you find out about your loved one’s death?     Tips?
  • News: Meet MSH Team Eleven-Plus          
  • Book Resource: All the Wrong Places: A Life Lost and Found by Philip Connors, author of Fire Season


celeste web

RESOURCE OF THE MONTH

Celeste Hunter received the Victim Advocate Award at the Annual Candlelight Tribute held during National Crime Victims Week by the VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATING COUNCIL. VACC  is a San Diego-based nonprofit umbrella organization composed of crime victims and a broad presentation of service providers vitally involved in various aspects of crime victim assistance. Its website is designed to provide information, options and resources available to victims and survivors of crime.

VACC is dedicated to providing better services to victims through the collaborative cooperation of our members from law enforcement, local government, medical and mental health agencies, and other victim service providers. The council is especially involved in educating the community about the plight and special needs of crime victims. Visit Victims Assistance Coordinating Council website and contact them with questions about how to set this up in your community.


TOPIC OF THE MONTH: THE EARLY RESPONSE

When a loved one dies, you may wonder: Who are all these people?

A flock of people become a part of this new life that no one wanted. Who they are is truly overwhelming for the family. They may include: law enforcement,  homicide investigators,  medical examiner, crisis interventionists, chaplain, victim advocates and more.

webMurder_Survivor-front-cover-sticker-2500webExcerpt from Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources, Chapter Four, by Connie Saindon, winner of the Benjamin Franklin Gold Award for Best in Self-Help, presented by the Independent Book Publishers Association:

One of the hardest jobs is to tell someone they lost a loved one.  (Hendricks, 2006)

I learned of the death of my sister from my mother. I asked if they had found her, and my mother’s voice cracked in a way I had never heard before.  “Yes, she is in the morgue.” (Halia)

“I’m sorry to tell you he expired.”
“Expired? What does that mean, expired? Milk expires, food expires, people don’t expire. They don’t have a date stamped on their foreheads.
What do you mean he expired?” (Bucholz, 2002)

 Displaced anger and rage are understandable. Blaming family members, law enforcement and yourself is common. While understandable, it doesn’t help. You need safe places and people to express this hurt. Displaced anger and judgments can interfere.

Life becomes instantly complicated, accompanied by waves of the most intense pain and chaos. It is as if nothing else matters. Not eating, not taking medicine, not picking up children or not feeding the dog. Everyday maintenance becomes secondary to the focus on this still shocking news. First responders are there to attend to some of the initial activities. Friends, neighbors, and extended family may be needed to take care of forgotten tasks.

Survivor Tips (partial list)

Get EVERYONE’S business cards so you have contact information, and keep everything in a large envelope so it stays together and you aren’t struggling to try to remember who was who and who does what. (Rose)

 As a survivor, tend to your grief, your emotions. I did not. In a criminal case, it’s easy to set that aside while you search for a reasonable explanation for what happened and to see that justice is done. That search consumed me, and 30 years passed before I truly addressed the underlying emotions associated with the deaths of my parents. (Harrier)

 I learned that the detectives and the DA are just doing their jobs and can’t help the family of the victim. The most helpful people in my case were the staff and secretaries at the court offices. (Kaila)

 

Resources (partial list)

Black’s Law DictionaryFree Online Law Dictionary

Parents of Murdered Children (POMC): www.pomc.com

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), provides an online directory of Victim Services throughout the country.

Excerpt from “Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources Chapter four,” by Connie Saindon:

Question of the Month: How did you find out about your loved one’s death?  Do you have any tips for other survivors?

Subscribe now . . . to add your Voice and Tips.


Meet  MSH Team Eleven-Plus

There were eleven anonymous survivor writers who contributed to the Murder Survivors Handbook, Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources by providing answers to questions to each chapter’s topics.  These volunteers DSC_0035were involved in writing answers to the two or more questions on one chapter per month. They could skip questions, review them before publication and make changes. Survivors  met quarterly over two and half years for updates and support, and to practice the resiliency strategies they identified at the beginning of this project.

Although painful at times, they were unwavering in their commitment to do be a part of this project if it would help someone else. At the end of this two-and-half-year project, each one received a copy of the book and a framed photo of their icon,  the symbol honoring their loved one.  These photos show both the value and the bond of this work for them. They are sent periodic updates regarding donated books and books bought by folks all over the country.

Recent review

I just finished the Murder Survivor’s Handbook and found it very helpful.  It is a comfort to know we’re not pioneers on this painful journey as we learn to navigate the judicial system.  While shocking and disappointing to hear how long and drawn out the process may be, at least it’s good to know it’s not unusual. I really appreciated the stories you shared from other survivors.  Also appreciated the info about forgiveness, as that has been a struggle for me as well.  I liked the line:  “I am not going to do the work on forgiving him,  I am going to leave that up to God.”

I’m actively involved with getting Marsy’s Law on the ballot in North Dakota.  Little things like that make you feel like you can at least help in some way.       —Rhonda, Survivor


BOOK RESOURCE

All the Wrong Places: A Life Lost and Found by Philip Connors.

I was drawn to this book when I heard an interview on PBS.

On page 210, Connors writes: “… the mind of the suicide survivor tends to be haunted by the thought that the dead passed judgment on the living, and that whatever else a suicide signifies, it can’t help but contain the message that none of the living were enough of a sustaining connection to temper the allure of self-annihilation.”

Here are some reviews by others:

“Philip Connors probably had to write All the Wrong Places for his own peace of mind; but in the process, he has given all readers a gift …” (Charles Bock)

“… not so much about the mystery of his brother’s suicide as struggle to escape its gravitational field …” (Sam Lipsyte)



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What you missed last month:         

Topic of the Month: Dealing with the Media/Social Media
Resource of the Month: VSS
Question of the Month: “Latest News” Triggers/Alerts
Candlelight Vigil Update     


Subscribe now … and follow up to let us know your thoughts by adding your comments about anything in this article.

Violent Loss Resources Team — Contact us

Connie Saindon: csaindon@svlp.org
Larry Edwards: larry@larryedwards.com

Violent Loss Resources Newsletter

April 1, 2016 (No fooling!)

News you can use

 Contents:

Dealing with the News Media/Social Media
Resource of the Month—VSS
“The Journey” Is a Finalist in IBPA Book Awards
Question of the Month—”Latest News” Triggers/Alerts
Candlelight Vigil Update


Topic of the Month: Dealing with the News Media

This is an important topic and one which few are prepared for. Here  is an excerpt from Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources:

We can’t choose to not have this horrible thing happen to us. . . . But we can choose how we react to it. Please respect our need to be alone and . . . have that personal time to continue on our journey of grief in the way that serves us.

—First Selectman Pat Llodra, Newtown, Connecticut, Dec. 9, 2013

Where to Begin?webMurder_Survivor-front-cover-sticker-2500web
It would be a mistake to not guide you in describing your loved one. In preparation for working with others, it is important to identify who your loved one was and what you want others to know about them. The public is learning about what happened to your loved one. It is important that you have some say about who they were. Write down who they were: at home, at school or work, and in community involvement. What did they do for fun? What was important to them?

Many of our survivors tell us that no one asked this question before. The focus has been on what happened, who did it, and what is the update on the search for justice. This question is vital when it comes to dealing with the news media, social media, and others. It may be very hard to talk about your loved one’s life as their death absorbs your focus and attention.

It may be useful to have conversations with other people who knew them, too: family members, friends, neighbors, peers. Ask people to write down what they remember. We provide many tips and ideas from a variety of sources for you and your family to use as a guide in dealing with the news and social media later in this chapter.

Read more in Chapter Three in Murder Survivor’s Handbook for more information.


Resource of the Month: Victim Support Services (VSS) in Everett, Washington.

I had IMG_2325the opportunity to visit this organization in February, and was greeted with a warm reception and a tour of their facilities. Their ability to partner and collaborate with their community was shown at their annual Breakfast/Lunch Event attended by Prosecutors, other Criminal Justice Agencies, Survivors, Service Agencies and the News Media.

Go visit them and say Hi. By partnering and collaboration with other like agencies and professionals, our service to Crime Victims can only be strengthened. http://victimsupportservices.org/

Marge Fairweather - VSS

Marge Fairweather

VSS Executive Director Marge Fairweather (right) has steered a strong course with many partners. VSS has experienced considerable growth over the years and serves all crime victims by managing Washington State’s Crime Victim Service Center 24 hours a day. They have met the challenge of serving a large area as their staff of service providers, advocates and volunteers are located in several surrounding counties.

 

 


Announcement
The_Journey_front_cover web

The Journey: Learning to Live with Violent Death, by Connie Saindon, is a finalist in the 2016 Benjamin Franklin Awards. This self-help book leads people through a healing process after losing a family member or friend in a violent death. The winners will be announced on April 8.

Last year, Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources, also by Connie Saindon, won the Benjamin Franklin Gold Award in the Self-Help category.

Both books were edited by Larry Edwards and published by Wigeon Publishing.

 


 

Question of the Month

How are you impacted and what do you do when you hear of the latest news of violent death such as a murder of mass shooting?

One of my clinical interns, Erin Falvey said that she no longer watched the news on TV. She was exposed to the real stories of the clients we served who had lost someone in a violent way at the Survivors of Violent Loss Program . Instead she read the news on the computer. Her very adaptive choice gave her some distance from the emotional content of images and words. Today she is a successful executive director at a nonprofit agency.

I wrote a poem, “I will Cry Again,” which is included in the Murder Survivor’s Handbook, expresses how we all get triggered by new events; it is the nature of trauma. Creativity can come from devastating events. Many who never claimed such talents are surprised at what they can do.

Doing nothing doesn’t seem to be a good answer as the stress of these events continue to add on to previous events, whether you live or work with violent death. Marilyn Amour’s work at the University of Texas in Austin reveals that “taking deliberate action” can provide meaning for many.

This is a conversation that would help us all to continue to have. There are  many examples here. Please send us what your experience is and what you do. What you report just may help someone else. (See below for contact information.)


Annual JSCK Candlelight Vigil Follow-Up

I don’t know Melina Phillips Sellers as much as many of you do. Most of us know the story that has forever linked us to her, though. You will find more about her and her son’s friend at The Jonathan Sellers & Charlie Keever Foundation website.

When she asked me to attend her annual JSCK Candlelight Vigil last month, I learned of a wisdom that she and her team have. I was truly impressed with the honor guard of Buffalo Soldiers at the event and the airy, soothing work of a team of dancers. The wisdom of using cultural and healing methods interspersed with listening to difficult realities was very creative and helpful to the attendees.

The Foundation she represents has many endeavors, so please let her know you would love to support her and learn more about the important work she and her team are doing.

Milena Sellers Phillips and Connie Saindon

Milena Sellers Phillips and Connie Saindon

Hawaiian dancers.

Hawaiian dancers

Participants in the 2016 JSCK Candlelight Vigil

Participants in the 2016 JSCK Candlelight Vigil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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 What you missed last month:

Grief and Trauma: Self-Care Tips
Arizona Homicide Survivors Program
New Book: The Journey: Learning to Live with Violent Death
Question of the Month: Funeral Services


 

Add your Voice and Tips

Subscribe now … and follow up to let us know by adding your comments to anything in this newsletter.

Violent Loss Resources Team — Contact us

Connie Saindon: csaindon@svlp.org
Larry Edwards: larry@larryedwards.com

Violent Loss Resources
News you can use… collected for you in February (Scroll down to see all)
The News You Can Use…. will feature resources for those who live and work with violent death. Collective contributing will expand the resources for us all. What you tried, what worked for you may help someone else.
The plan is to feature Resources, Tips and True Experiences. Each month will feature a focus on one topic. Contents will vary somewhat month to month, as we close out this month, our contents include:
New Name
Mark Your Calendar for March 10, 6:30 pm -details below
Features

Topic of the month: Grief and Resiliency
Question of the month- Funeral Homes- What was your experience and tips?
Resource of the Month: Tucson Arizona’s Homicide Survivors Program
The Journey: Learning to Live with Violent celebrates with local authors.
Source
Add your Voice and Tips

Survivors of Violent Loss has a new name: to reflect changes and its outreach. The new website and newsblog will be called: Violent Loss Resources . This new site will be a resource for folks across the country in various size communities, agencies and family forms.
2016Vigil11San Diego Event hosted by Jonathan Sellers and Charlie Keever Foundation has their 5th Annual Candlelight Vigil. Please bring a picture of your loved one for the memorial table. Candles will be provided. For more information go to: candlelightvigil

 

February Topic: Grief and Resiliency
Look at Chapter Two in Murder Survivors Handbook for more information on grief and resiliency. Here are excerpts:
Grief and Trauma: Initial Impact
No one is prepared for the worst event in their lives. The pain of loss is very apparent after a murder. There can be an intense roller coaster of feelings and confusion that results in paralysis. Marina described it this way:

You know how oatmeal looks and feels when it’s been sitting for some time? imagined that was what my brain looked like on murder.

Am I crazy? Survivors wonder “What is normal?” They keep expecting this loss to be like other losses. Three major reactions that many find they have difficulty with are rage, sleep problems, and thinking.

Initially, I experienced intense rage, terror, and anguish. Insomnia became a constant companion. I lost my sense of competency in the world. (Marina)

The resources you have or have used before may not help you as much as you had hoped. Until you have acquired new strategies, be protective of yourself. What you can do:

• Say no to “incoming” distractions.
• Be selective to keep your strength up.
• EAT food (an apple, yogurt, raisins, carrot sticks, banana, V8 juice) three times a day and limit alcohol.
• Pull yourself back into quiet spaces. webMurder_Survivor-front-cover-sticker-2500web
• Focus on your own five senses, one at a time: see, hear, touch, smell, and taste.
• Take notice of any times that you are not absorbed with what has happened. Even if it is brief. See what you can do to lengthen that time to help you as you move in and out of the compelling reality of your loss.
• Breathe slow, deep breaths intermittently.

                      … read more in Murder Survivors Handbook

Question of The Month: Funeral Homes– What was your experience and tips?  What suggestions do you have? What did you learn that you wished you had known. What tips do you have for friends, family members, advocates and agencies. Submit your replies now to help others. Reply to this newsletter https://svlnetwork.wordpress.com/ or email us at svlp@svlp.org.

Resource of the Month: Tucson Arizona’s Homicide Survivors Program. http://www.azhomicidesurvivors.org/

When I was doing research for the Murder Survivors Handbook I found this site. It has a well established program that provides services for homicide survivors in Tucson, Arizona. Information on their website could be useful for anyone and not just if they lived in Arizona especially by using some of the questions to ask their own state representatives. There is very little that resources that survivors can find and this is one place that helps answer some of those important questions including a trial guide and a form to track one’s case. The Executive Director, Carol Gaxiola has a wealth of knowledge and has become both a friend and colleague. Take a look around and let us know found and wweb-coni-carmela-journeyhat you think.

Book Resource: The Journey-Learning to Live with Violent Death by Connie Saindon was featured at San Diego Library Author’s event. This newly released book is a self help and peer facilitator’s guide to a ten-step process that guides one to fill out answers to important questions along the way. New stories have been added along with guides to for group support.See book photo attended by sponsor Carmela Caldera with author Connie Saindon.

What you missed last month:
Topic of the Month: Safety
Book Resource: Parallel Justice for Victims of Crime by Susan Herman, NYC Deputy Commissioner
Poem: The Forever Changed

Subscribe now… https://svlnetwork.wordpress.com/ and follow up and let us know by adding your comments to all or anything in this article.
Violent Loss Resources Team -Contact us
Connie Saindon csaindon@svlp.org       Larry Edwards     larry@larryedwards.com

News you can use… (Scroll down to see all)

  • New Name
  • New Features
  • Topic of the Month: Safety
  • Question of the month
  • Books
  • Poem: The Forever Changes
  • Subscribe and Give Your Tips
  • Who we are

Survivors of Violent Loss Blog has a new name: to more reflect what it is and its outreach. The new blog will be called: Violent Loss Resources and will be more like a newsletter. This new site will reach folks across the country and in various size communities, agencies and family forms. Each death is unique and has many complexities. The only similarity is that each of us knows violent death.
The poem, The “Changed Forever” ( see below), reflects we are forever changed when we have experienced a loss or worked with those who have.

The News You Can Use…. will feature resources for those who live and work with violent death. Collective contributing will expand the resources for us all. What you tried, what worked for you may help someone else.
The plan is to feature Resources, Tips and True Experiences. Each month will feature a focus on one topic.

January Topic: Safety for you and those you love.

parallel justice webVictim Safety Should Be A Top Priority, says Susan Herman, NYPD Deputy Commissioner and former Executive Director of National Center for Victims of Crime. In her book: Parallel Justice for Victims of Crime, safety is listed as one of her guiding principles. Her principles helped us outline the topics in the Murder Survivors Handbook.

MHScoverwebLook at Chapter one in Murder Survivors Handbook for more information on this topic. Here is an edited excerpt:
The world is not safe. Life was different before the murder of your loved one. Now, you no longer say that bad things don’t happen. So one of the first tasks is feeling safe, or as safe as you can be.

The contributing survivor writers in the book want you to know: “We are all victims, just like you… There is no manual on what you are to do when you are suddenly a victim. We want to add to the knowledge that you will need as you move forward. When traveling the road ahead, you will need courage and patience. Although each of our stories is different, you will not be alone as we travel this journey with you.” Everyone who contributed to this book hopes that your journey will be better for going with us on ours.”

Here are some things to think about to add your list that you can do to help increase your sense of safety:

 Form an army of support.
 Report threats.
 Have a security check done of your home.
 Have Family check-in regularly.
 Check with your Neighborhood Watch group for safety guidelines.
 Limit what you say over the Internet and in social media.
 Turn off the TV. Be selective.
 Have a safety kit comprising emergency phone numbers, cash for expenses, flashlight with fresh batteries, and filled prescriptions.
 Give keys to your home only to people you can trust.
 Cover windows to prevent viewing; install peepholes for help in identifying someone at your door.
 Put up “Beware of Dog” signs whether you have a dog or not.

Question of The Month: What do you in your family or workplace to feel safe? What tips, resources and experiences do you have? Reply now to help others that may need it. Sign up now, to receive the updates as they come. You may just have that piece of information that will make a difference in the overwhelming time after a violent death for someone.

Go to the upper left hand corner and SUBSCRIBE NOW.

The “Changed Forever”

As I walk through the shadows of death ,
and I now know evil.
I refuse to let the shadow of evil keep me from appreciating life,
the newness and joys available every day.

Whether that be seeing a new mural in a small town
or noticing dried leaves blown into a bouquet by the wind;
seeing the drops of water on an unopened bud,
the smile on the faces I pass.

As I walk through the shadows of death ,
and I now know evil.
I refuse to let evil keep me from appreciating life,
the newness and joys available every day.

Smelling the pine-filled breeze in the forest,
tasting a slice of foot-high lemon meringue pie found off the Illinois I-40,
or noticing the strengths in people
who also know evil, as they have lost love ones to murder.

They too are “the changed forever.”
I refuse to let the shadow of evil keep me from seeing their strengths
amid their raw devastation,
or honoring their work, making a difference for
those “changed forever.”

As I walk through the shadows of death ,
and I now know evil. I am not lost.
Connie Saindon (2013)

Source
Murder Survivors Handbook, Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources . Best in Self-Help Gold Award winner with Independent Book Publishers.

Violent Loss Resources Team, contact us.

Connie Saindon
csaindon@svlp.org

Larry Edwards
larry@larryedwards.com

New Book

The Journey

Learning to Live with Violent Death

leads people through a healing process
after losing a loved one to a violent death

 

When a loved one dies due to violence, survivors are plunged into an overwhelming world of chaos, trauma, and grief.

The_Journey_front_cover web
The Journey: Learning to Live with Violent Death is a workbook for adults (and those who work with them) who have been impacted by violent death through homicide, suicide, terrorism, drunk driving, and domestic violence.

It offers a process to help shore up the resiliency of the readers and support-group members as they learn to live with a horrific loss. This self-help guide is a resource for individuals and support group facilitators.

It meets the need of those who may not have access to trained specialists or those who may wish to strengthen their ability to live with what has happened more privately.
In addition, The Journey can aid professionals in offering services — services with which they are unfamiliar — in a more informed way.

The workbook provides an easy-to-follow, ten-step process with survivor writers who answer the same questions to lend a helping hand to those who follow in their footsteps.

It is based on the Restorative Retelling model developed by Edward K. Rynearson, MD, a leader in the field of in the field of violent death bereavement and founder of the Violent Death Bereavement Society.

Nationally, there are about 50,000 violent deaths annually. From that number, there are an additional ten to twelve people connected to the victim who are significantly impacted by this loss. These numbers do not take into account returning soldiers and their families who have been impacted by violent death as well.

Written by Connie Saindon, MA, MFT, the book is being formally released on Dec. 8, 2015, in memory of Connie’s sister “Tiny” who was murdered, at age 17, on this date in 1961.

The book is available in print and ebook formats.

Praise for the book

The current amount of material in this field is quite sparse and The Journey will prove to be valuable for professionals working with this population and for the co-victims as well.

Deborah Spungen, author of
And I Don’t Want to Live This Life
and founder of Families of Murder
Victims in Philadelphia

The Journey workbook is a much needed and useful aid for survivors of violent death.

Alison Salloum, PhD, LCSW
University of South Florida

Connie Saindon has brought the theoretical into the practical with this user-friendly workbook for family and friends of those who have died traumatically.

Janice Harris Lord, author of
No Time for Goodbyes
and former Director of
Victim Services of MADD

 

Details
• Nonfiction: Death, Grief, Bereavement
• Publisher: Wigeon Publishing
• Publication date: December 8, 20145
• Size, print edition: 8.5 x 11
• Pages: 222
• Formats:
• paperback; ISBN: 978-0-9896913-8-3; $19.95
• e-book: Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, etc.; $7.99

 

About the Author

Connie SConnie Saindon, author, Murder Survivor's Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resourcesaindon is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and among the few specialists in the field of violent death bereavement. She is the founder of the nonprofit Survivors of Violent Loss Program in San Diego, which began at the University of California-San Diego outpatient clinic in 1998. Her commitment to violent loss bereavement is related to the loss of her sister, aged 17, to homicide in 1961.

She is author of Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources, which received a Benjamin Franklin Gold Award in 2015. She also is a contributing author of Violent Death, Resilience and Intervention Beyond the Crises (2006).

When not pursuing her professional interests she may be found kayaking in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, skiing, walking her dog, or taking photographs. A native New Englander, Saindon splits her time between Boothbay, ME, and San Diego, CA.

 

Contact

Connie Saindon
858-699-7700
csaindon@svlp.org

 

Learn more at Violent Loss Resources: http://www.svlp.org

 

What do a nurse, Director of Families and Friends of Murder Victims, a teacher, a Chaplin, Directors of Restorative Justice, therapist, missionary and survivor have in common? They are members of a trained team in San Bernardino, and they need our support.

They have prepared for the past three years to be ready — to be ready for their work and support survivors of violent loss. Many are driven to make a difference from their own grief stories to show how they have survived. Many continue a career in aiding humanity, all committed to knowing how they can help survivors after murder and other violent deaths.

It was an honor to be among such incredible people again the week just before Thanksgiving. They had all given up there weekend to spend three days together learning more about The Journey, a ten week support group.

2013
sister 2013web

2014

DSC_0007 ssiters Trainee group 2013

2015

IMG_2654

They have formed a team that will support each other as they take the tools that The Journey provides them in working with others with the ideas and support from the evidence-based model Restorative Retelling by Edward Rynearson, MD.

The Journey: Learning to Live with Violent Loss, with its accompanying audio recordings, will be released December 8, 2015. This is an updated version of the book published in 2008 by Connie Saindon. Three more real stories have been added along with more examples of Survivor Heroes, Missions and support-group guidelines. The book will be available on Amazon.com and other retail outlets, along with her other book, the award winning Murder Survivors Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips and Resources.

To support the San Bernardino Team, contact Anna Hamilton, Assoc. Director of Restorative Justice at 909-475-5474 or ahamilton@sbdiocese.org.

For more information about the books and support-group training, contact Connie Saindon, MFT, Founder of Survivors of Violent Loss and Violent Loss Resources, at 858-699-7700 or connie.saindon@gmail.com

Links

Connie Saindon

Survivors of Violent Loss exists to build a lifeline of hope and healing by providing support and education to those who live and work with violent death. Coping isn't easy. Survivors of Violent Loss can help. www.svlp.org (619) 685-0005

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