Professional Support for Children Bereaved by Domestic Homicide in the UK

Gomersall, Alice, Alisic, Eva, Devaney, John, Humphreys, Cathy, Stanley, Nicky orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7644-1625, Trickey, David and Howarth, Emma (2024) Professional Support for Children Bereaved by Domestic Homicide in the UK. Journal of Family Violence . ISSN 0885-7482

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Children bereaved by domestic homicide face unique challenges that are likely to require professional interventions. In this study, the theoretical lens of candidacy, which considers the dynamic factors that affect service eligibility and access, is employed to evaluate current service provision in the United Kingdom.

We conducted a mixed methods survey (n = 90) and semi-structured interviews (n = 7) of professionals working in the children and families sector. Thematic analysis was used to interpret qualitative data, while descriptive and parametric statistics were used for the analysis of quantitative data.

Quantitative results showed that a majority of professionals reported that the current service provision is not meeting the specific needs of children bereaved by domestic homicide, and that professionals reported low levels of confidence in working with the topic, regardless of professional background. This article reports on two key themes identified in the qualitative data: unmet needs and the barriers to candidacy, and developing a more effective provision.

Using the theoretical lens of candidacy, this study identified factors which were found to limit children’s access to appropriate services, indicating the need for a specialist service which provides long-term input, support for caregivers, and access to peer-support.

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