THE CALGARY HOMICIDE SUPPORT SOCIETY
In April 2014, following a news report on the lack of a support group in Calgary for families who have lost loved ones to homicide, Debbie Hogarth and Karen Venables met for the first time. Although they had never met before, they had one definite commonality; both of their sons had been murdered in the city of Calgary—Karen’s 18-year-old son Devin, in 2002 and Debbie’s 18-year-old son, Josh, in 2012. Debbie realized when she met Karen that she didn’t have to say a word; Karen ‘just knew’.
In the aftermath of Josh’s death, Debbie sought out a variety of bereavement groups. She discovered that these groups left her feeling like an ‘outsider’ because of the circumstances of Josh’s death. The loss of a family member was devastating enough but when the death was by the hand of another, the level and complexity of grief had its own distinct complexities.
The Calgary Homicide Support Society provides the opportunity for those who have lost a family member to murder, to come together in a safe place and feel the support of others who “just know”.
From the moment these two mothers met, Karen and Debbie knew Calgary needed a Homicide Support Group. With grant funding through the Alberta Victims of Crime Fund, Debbie and Karen’s dream of a support group became a reality.