Published Aug 18 2022
The Northern Victims Assistance Program (VAP) identified an absence of a peer support group for people who had lost a family member due to homicide or culpable/dangerous driving.
Merri Health created the ‘Finding Your Way’ program that responds to this unmet need to assist people who have experienced this specific trauma
The aim of the group was to increase connection and strengthen participant’s understanding of trauma by:
- coping with grief and loss and to better manage difficult emotions
- connecting with the group and their community
- moving towards the future and some sense of hope.
A full evaluation research study showed 100 per cent of participants would recommend the program. Other key findings included:
- participation and retention was high
- participants consistently felt heard, understood and safe to express themselves
- participants had a better understanding of grief, resilience and their coping strategies
- there was a small reduction in Grief Intensity scores
- having a strong facilitation team helped overcome challenges in delivering a new program.
The group ran successfully in 2019, however due to COVID restrictions through the following year, the group was put on hold.
The program is set to run again in 2023 as staff undertake professional development to build their skills in working with related victims of crime during this time.