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By Connie Saindon, MFT Founder and Director Since-1998.

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Presentation on theme: "By Connie Saindon, MFT Founder and Director Since-1998."— Presentation transcript:

1 By Connie Saindon, MFT Founder and Director Since-1998

2 Where does one go…? When the worst has happened? When someone you love has been murdered or died in a violent way? When first responders leave? Who knows and understands?

3 Violent Deaths Include: Homicide Suicide Drunk-Driving & Terrorist Fatalities War

4 Our Logo… ( story on our website at )

5 Why our program….? We are there when others leave… We are the only program in San Diego County, as well as one of the few in the Nation to provide specialized violent services after Violent Death. We are trained in the kind of grief that does not go away with time. We offer opportunities for Survivors to be with each other. We can provide information on other adjunct providers and agencies. Our approach includes lessons from survivors.

6 Our Mission “Your support is our mission” to “ Provide a Lifeline of Hope and Healing” and Build a community of support CS/02

7 Nationally 50,000 violent deaths annually plus 10-12 additional “co-victims” 10-12 additional “co-victims” ( doesn’t count DUI, terrorist fatalities and war)

8 Co-Victims Defined The term “co-victim” was created due to a lack of recognition for the needs of survivors, and therefore were underserved. Office of Victims of Crime Bulletin, August 1998 This department provided funds to train other cities in 1998.

9 You become a member of a club you never wanted to join. You have paid the highest dues. You have a lifetime membership. C. S.

10 THE NEED IN SAN DIEGO 111 Homicides 370 Suicides (SANDAG) 115 Drunk Driving Fatalities (MADD) Twelve people significantly impacted = 7,152 each year Statistics provided by: San Diego County Sheriffs Department, 2007, San Diego Community Health Improvement Partners and MADD 2006.

11 Survivor quote… “No one understands the magnitude of this. You end up a body with no life in it.” Co-Victim of Homicide, 1998

12 Multiple Levels of Complexity Murder Suicide DUI fatality Shaken baby death Gang killing Terrorist fatality Murder/suicide No body Multiple suspects/trials First arrest-26 years after death No suspect Happened in another state Killer found not guilty More…

13 Multiple Players and Roles Detectives Paramedics/EMT’s Medical Examiners Media Victim Advocates Clean up Services District Attorney Employers/Schools Religious/Spiritual Morticians Cemeteries Security

14 Unnatural Death is Different Violent A Violation- a wrong doing Volitional-on purpose Voyeuristic- private becomes public

15 shattered Three basic Assumptions may be shattered following trauma: The World is Safe Life has Meaning I have worth Shattered Assumptions by Ronnie Bulman-Janoff, 1992

16 Violent Loss is Beyond Words!

17 When one’s world comes apart

18 A survivor said it well with this cartoon of what if feels to be her… Me Unplugged from LIFE

19 Another survivors said: “Life is like a Dali painting ”

20 Impact of loss is incomprehensible! The complexity and competing aspects of each loss can easily overwhelm the family, the community and service professionals who all work to regain a sense of safety, meaning and hope.

21 One is often not prepared when life “crashes”. It is a balancing act to hang on.

22 Additional Stressors Reconciling how loved one died Threat(s) may continue to exist Media making public what was private Crime Scene Demands Victim Identification Medical Exam requirements Legal imperatives Security Probate

23 Second Wounds…. When co-victims are blamed for not preventing what happened When the legal system does not give them a role Courts seem to treat criminals better than victims When family members are treated and considered suspects

24 Wounds The pain of homicide bereavement (and other violent deaths) is described as intense, unprecedented, and inescapable. The response of the community to survivors is often so inadequate that it has been called ‘‘secondary victimization’’. Amick-McMullan, Kilpatrick, & Veronen, 1989. 1991; Getzel & Masters, 1984; Redmond, 1989; Rynearson, 1984; Sprang, McNeil, & Wright, 1989; Spungen, 1998

25 Normal reactions… Can be: Being possessed with what has happened Compulsive care-giving Compulsive inquiry SVLP founder and sister “Tiny"

26 To abnormal events

27 “It will bring you to your knees;” says a father whose daughter who was killed.

28 Research is recent in its finding that violent loss bereavement can be even more painful than other losses and often involves symptoms of unremitting depression and PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) (Kaltman & Bonanno, 2003, Zisook, Chentsova-Dutton, & Shuchter, 1998)

29 Traditional ways of dealing with grief are inadequate and put unrealistic expectations on survivors because they don’t “get over it”. Lack of predictability and controllability are central issues for the development and maintenance of PTSD.

30 Clinical picture may include PTSD; experiences of intrusive reenactment and avoidance. Major Depression, DX not given until 2 mo. After loss. Traumatic Grief/ Complicated Bereavement. Victimization; rage and a sense of defilement. Compulsive inquiry; a social and psychological need for investigation and punishment of the murderer.

31 It is the malicious intent in deaths such as homicide and terrorism that increase stressors

32 9/11 Study Sample size N=2,752 11% - PTSD 37% - mild-moderate PTSD symptoms 51% - evidenced resilient outcomes with 1-0 PTSD symptoms Problem with the study: relied on phone interviews for diagnosis (Galea, Ahearn, Resnick et., al. 2002) BEGS for further research

33 Veterans with PTSD are more likely to have heart attacks years later Medical authorities first accepted PTSD as a psychiatric condition in 1980 at the urging of Vietnam Vets This new study is the first to link PTSD with health problems 10-15 years later Laura Kubzansky, Harvard, 2007

34 Theory Separation distress occurs as a result of the loss of a loved one as understood by attachment theory Trauma Distress which relates more to how someone died

35 Re-membering loved ones: Memento Box

36 The Challenges 1. Help deal with the loss of your loved one and your longing for reunion. 2. Help you get past revenge and re-enactment imagery that is intrusive. 3. Foster your ability to self-soothe to help contain overwhelming emotions. 4. Navigate the many competing complexities

37 Survivors Club Co-victim volunteers who have become Survivors and part of the team to help others Open to all participants who are members of a club they never wanted to be a member of

38 Survivors Club Activities include: Candle Light vigil Holiday Memorial, 5K Walks/Light the Night Against Crime Tree Planting/Crime Victims Oak Garden Potlucks & Picnics Fundraising

39 Candlelight Vigil – Crime Victims Week Victim Assistance Coordinating Council

40 Tree planting at the Crime Victims Oak Garden

41 Fundraiser car wash for the Homicide Support Project

42 Crime Victims Oak Garden Markers

43 Lavender Fields Trip

44 Annual Holiday Memorial

45 Tenth Anniversary, 2008


47 Annual River of Remembrance

48 Inspirational Speakers such as Cherry McCoy

49 UCSD Appreciation Dinner Volunteers and Staff

50 Community of Supporth has included… District Attorney, Bonnie Dumanis Cynthia Charlebois, Director Victim/Assistance Lt. Tom Bennett, SD Co. Sheriff Michelle Del Conte, San Felipe Foundation Joyce Knott, Cara Knott Foundation Jim and Wilma Knott, Crime Victims Oak Garden Victim Assistance Coordinating Council Parents of Murdered Children

51 Paula Myers, MADD Survivors Club Members Anna Knuth, SDPD-Crisis Intervention Team Wendy Maurer, Ph.D, Red Cross, Disaster Mental Health Carmela Caldera Yolanda Boyd Eric & Lisa Hoffacker, www.CarterDesignWorkswww.CarterDesignWorks Elizabeth Munroe, webmaster Community of Support continued:

52 People say the darndest things… Do say… My regrets to you… Their loved ones name Just listen Don’t say you know how they feel unless you too have lost someone in a violent way More on our website under Support Add yours to our list at

53 The Journey Ten steps to learning to live with Violent Death: Adult Survivors Individual workbook kit & accompanying Calming Exercises CD Order yours now 618-9-685-0005

54 Upcoming Events Current Postings at 1. 2. Websitehttp://www.svlp.org 3. Email 4. Or Call 616-685-0005

55 “Tiny’s” Role December 8, 1961 at age of 17, my sister, “Tiny”, the third child of eight, was murdered.” Connie Saindon Iris is her symbol Represents HOPE

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