Finding Support In The Darkness

The Calgary Homicide Support Society offers a safe place for families of homicide victims to come together to find support from others who "just know.” We provide a facilitated peer support group* to families who have lost a loved one(s) to homicide. This support group is available to family members 18 years of age and older, regardless of their criminal case status, and there is no charge to join the group.

Does this sound like you?

  • Have you lost a family member to homicide?

  • Do you wonder how you will ever get through this?

  • Where can you meet with other families who have experienced this type of tragic loss and understand how you are feeling?

  • Are you overwhelmed trying to understand and cope with the police investigation, intrusive media attention, and the complex criminal justice system?

  • What is a preliminary hearing? What happens during the trial? What is the value in completing a victim impact statement?


The Calgary Homicide Support Group will:

  • Provide a professional facilitator who leads the group to ensure the meetings offer a safe, comfortable and confidential space for sharing experiences and receiving support.

  • Provide accurate information on the criminal justice system while hearing the experiences of those who have concluded that part of their journey.

  • Provides families with the opportunity to meet with others who can share the challenges and recovery.

  • Allow you to meet with other family members who have a wealth of experience, compassion and understanding of what you are going through.

  • Let you hear from those who have found tools and strategies that they find helpful when facing challenges along the way.


What you can expect at a Calgary Homicide Support Group meeting:

  • To be met and welcomed by other families experiencing a family member’s loss to homicide in a safe environment.

  • The discussion and conversations at meetings will focus on the current needs of the group.

  • Experiences within the group currently range from recent homicides to others that happened many years ago. These range from cases where no charges have been laid, those who are now navigating the criminal justice system and still others where a court finished long ago, and the offender has since been paroled.

  • Guest speakers are invited to present on specific topics that are viewed as valuable from the group. These guest speakers usually participate in half of a group meeting.


Why does the Calgary Homicide Support Society use a facilitator?

When developing their vision of the support group, our founders wanted to make sure that everyone at the meeting had the opportunity to be heard equally. They realized that utilizing a facilitator would ensure the emotionally safe environment they were looking for.
Knowing that the trauma and navigating the complex criminal justice system are critical challenges facing the families, utilizing a mental health facilitator with a criminal justice background would ensure emotional support and that information on the justice system with a combined focus made perfect sense. That said, we have brought Dr. Scott McLean, Ph.D., BCFT, RSW, onboard as the facilitator for the Calgary Homicide Support society.
Dr. McLean has experience in trauma counselling with crime victims and is also an educator in the criminal justice field. Dr. McLean is an Alberta registered forensic social worker with a background in criminal justice. His expertise ensures accurate and relevant information about the criminal justice process. His extensive work with victims of crime also drives his commitment to the group‘s primary goal to help lessen the suffering and trauma of family members following the homicide of a loved one.


Dr. McLean’s role includes (but is not limited to):

  • Personally, contacting those who have lost a loved one to homicide and are interested in joining the group.

  • Clarifies the role of the support group to ensure it will meet their needs.

  • Suggesting possible counselling referrals to community programs and services for those looking for bereavement counselling or services outside the support group’s scope.

  • Facilitating and guiding the group discussion to ensure a safe, respectful, and compassionate environment is maintained and individual stories are honoured.

  • Ensuring accurate information is provided on aspects of the criminal justice system.

  • Occasionally arranging guest speakers on specific topics as requested by the group. 

* Please note that our support meetings are not a bereavement or therapy group or a group lobbying for victims' rights or justice reform.

Please Register

Support Group Session