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Homicide victims’ families unprepared for emotional toll, Winnipeg organization says

Click to play video: 'Manitoba Organization for Victim Assistance on homicides and victim support' Manitoba Organization for Victim Assistance on homicides and victim support
Homicides and victim support (Interview with executive director of MOVA) – May 18, 2022

As Winnipeg police try to get a handle on a homicide rate that is on pace to break the city’s all-time record, others affected by crime are also trying to make a difference.

Karen Wiebe, executive director of the Manitoba Organization for Victim Assistance (MOVA), told Global News families of homicide victims are usually unprepared to deal with the emotional toll and need all the help they can get.

“MOVA is about supporting families, because we are families that have gone through the circumstances around homicide,” Wiebe said.

“Of course, it’s so horrendous, and most people are completely unprepared for what that is going to be — they’re unprepared for what that looks like, and the impact it’ll have on their whole family and their lives going forward.”

Wiebe said her organization helps families deal with trauma — a task that is often difficult, as police don’t provide contact information for families of those murdered.

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“It’s always a challenge for us, because we are not given the names of (victims’ families).

“When someone has passed away through homicide, it’s publicized in the paper, and maybe once we get into court, we’ll see the names of family members, but that doesn’t guarantee us a contact with them and connection to them.

“It’s overwhelming when your loved one dies and the police come to the door…. You’re trying to just survive, put one foot ahead of the next. We pretty much have to rely on people coming to us.”

Read more: ‘It’s a number we’re not proud of’ — Winnipeg hits 20 homicides by mid-May

The homicide on Edison Avenue in North Kildonan Monday marked the city’s 20th of the year — more than double the number of killings at this time last year.

By mid-May 2021, the city had only seven homicides. Winnipeg is currently on pace to break the record of 44 in 2019.

It’s an issue police are struggling to make sense of as well.

“It’s been quite shocking for us. It’s certainly contributed to a lot of fatigue in our homicide unit and other units that assist on these types of calls,” Const. Jay Murray told 680 CJOB on Tuesday.

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“It’s a number that we’re not proud of. It’s a number we’d like to see trend downwards.

“We’re still trying to identify what is driving it.”

Click to play video: '‘It’s a number we’re not proud of’: Winnipeg hits 20 homicides by mid-May' ‘It’s a number we’re not proud of’: Winnipeg hits 20 homicides by mid-May
‘It’s a number we’re not proud of’: Winnipeg hits 20 homicides by mid-May – May 17, 2022

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