view here - Survivors of Violent Loss
By Connie Saindon, MFT
Founder and Director
Survivors of Violent Loss Program San Diego Clinical Team
Connie Saindon, MFT; Clinical Director
Kerry Essakow, MFTI; Assistant Clinical Director
Jeneen Wallig, MFTI
Jason Kornberg, MD, Adjunct Services
Sid Zisook, MD; Medical Consultation
y Merrily Lochtefeld, Program Administrator
y Ted Rynearson, MD
y Deborah Spungen, MD
y Alison Salloum, Ph.D. y Janice Lord, MSW
y Richard Gold, Pongo Publishing
Where does one go…?
y When the worst has happened?
y When someone you love has been murdered or died in a violent way?
y When first responders leave?
y Who knows and understands?
(story on our website at www.svlp.org)
Why our program….?
y We are there when others leave…
y We are the only program in San Diego County as well as one of the few in the Nation to provide specialized violent services after Violent Death. y We are trained in the kind of grief that does not go away with time.
y We offer opportunities for Survivors to be with each other. y Information on other adjunct providers and agencies are made to families.
y Our approach includes lessons from survivors. Our Mission
“Your support is our mission”
“ Provide a Lifeline of Hope and Healing,”
and Build a community of support
50,000 violent deaths annually
10-12 additional “co-victims”
(doesn’t count DUI, terrorist fatalities and war)
The term “co‐victim” was created due to the lack of recognition of the needs of survivors and therefore were underserved. Office of Victims of Crime Bulletin, August 1998
This department provided funds to train other cities in 1998.
•You become a member of a club you never wanted to join.
•You have paid the highest dues.
•You have a lifetime membership.
THE NEED IN SAN DIEGO
y 111 Homicides y 370 Suicides (SANDAG)
y 115 Drunk Driving Fatalities (MADD)
y Twelve people significantly impacted = 7,152 each year
Statistics provided by: San Diego County Sheriffs Department, 2007, San Diego
Community Health Improvement Partners and MADD 2006.
“No one understands the magnitude of this. You end up a body with no life in it.”
C Vi i f H
i id 8
Multiple Levels of Complexity
y No body
y Multiple suspects/trials
y DUI fatality
y Shaken baby death
y First arrest‐26 years after death
y Gang killing
y No suspect
y Terrorist fatality
y Happened in another state
y Killer found not guilty
Multiple Players and Roles
y Medical Examiners
y Victim Advocates
y Clean up Services
y District Attorney
Unnatural Death is different
y A Violation‐
a wrong doing, y Volitional‐on purpose,
private becomes public.
Three basic Assumptions may be shattered following trauma:
y The World is Safe
y Life has Meaning
y I have worth.
Shattered Assumptions by Ronnie Bulman‐
Janoff , 1992
A survivor says it well with this cartoon of what if feels to be her‐
Another survivors says: “Life is like a Dali painting”
Impact of loss is incomprehensible!
The complexity and competing aspects of each loss can easily overwhelm the family, the community and service professionals who all work to regain a sense of safety,
meaning and hope.
Additional Stressors can be:
Reconciling how loved one died
Threat(s) may continue to exist Media making public what was private
Crime Scene Demands
Medical Exam requirements
y When co‐victims are blamed for not preventing what happened.
y When the legal system does not give them a role. y Courts seem to treat criminals better than victims.
y When family members are treated and considered suspects.
Wounds The pain of homicide bereavement (and other violent deaths) is described as intense, unprecedented, and inescapable.
The response of the community to survivors is often so inadequate that it has been called ‘‘secondary victimization’’.
Amick‐McMullan, Kilpatrick, & Veronen, 1989. 1991; Getzel & Masters,
1984; Redmond, 1989; Rynearson, 1984; Sprang, McNeil, & Wright,
1989; Spungen, 1998
y Being possessed with what has happened.
y Compulsive care‐giving
y Compulsive inquiry
Svlp founder and sister “Tiny"
To abnormal events
“It will bring you to your knees;” says a father whose daughter who was killed.
Clinical picture may include
PTSD; experiences of intrusive reenactment and avoidance.
Major Depression, DX not given until 2 mo. After loss.
Traumatic Grief/ Complicated Bereavement.
Victimization; rage and a sense of defilement .
Compulsive inquiry; a social and psychological need for investigation and punishment of the murderer. It is the malicious intent in deaths such as homicide and terrorism that increase stressors
Sample size N=2,752
11% ‐ PTSD
37% ‐ mild‐moderate PTSD symptoms
51% evidenced resilient outcomes with 1‐0 PTSD symptoms.
Problem with the study: relied on phone interviews for diagnosis
(Galea, Ahearn, Resnick et. , al. 2002)
BEGS for further research
Veterans with PTSD are more likely to have heart attacks years later
y Medical authorities first accepted PTSD as a psychiatric condition in 1980 at the urging of Vietnam Vets. y This new study is the first to link PTSD with health problems 10‐15 years later.
Laura Kubzansky, Harvard, 2007
Theory y Separation distress occurs as a result of the loss of a loved one as understood by attachment theory.
y Trauma Distress which relates more to how someone died. Remembering loved ones: Memento Box
1. Help deal with the loss of your loved one and your longing for reunion.
2. Help you get past revenge and re‐
enactment imagery that is intrusive.
3. Foster your ability to self‐soothe to help contain overwhelming emotions.
4. Navigate the many competing complexities Survivors Club
y Co‐victim volunteers who have become Survivors and part of the team to help others.
y Open to all participants who are members of a club they never wanted to be a member of.
Activities include: y Candle Light vigil
y Holiday Memorial, y 5K Walks/ Light the Night Against Crime, y Tree Planting/Crime Victims Oak Garden y Potlucks & Picnics
y Fundraising Candlelight Vigil – Crime Victims Week
y Victim Assistance Coordinating Councils
Tree planting at the Crime Victims Oak Garden
Fundraiser car wash for the Homicide Support Project
Annual Holiday Memorial
Tenth Anniversary, 2008
Annual River of Remembrance
UCSD Appreciation Dinner
Volunteers and Staff
Community of Support
y District Attorney, Bonnie Dumanis
y Cynthia Charlebois, Director Victim/Assistance y Lt. Tom Bennett, SD Co. Sheriff
y Michelle Del Conte, San Felipe Foundation
y Joyce Knott, Cara Knott Foundation
y Jim and Wilma Knott, Crime Victims Oak Garden
y Victim Assistance Coordinating Council y Parents of Murdered Children
Community of Support continued:
y Paula Myers, MADD
y Survivors Club Members
y Anna Knuth, SDPD‐Crisis Intervention Team
y Wendy Maurer, Ph.D, Red Cross, Disaster Mental Health
y Yolanda Boyd
y Penny Goforth, Grantwriters. Ltd
y Eric & Lisa Hoffacker, www.CarterDesignWorks
y Elizabeth Munroe, webmaster
People say the darndest things…
My regrets to you…
Their loved ones name
Just listen y
Don’t say you know how they feel unless you too have lost someone in a violent way
More on our website under Support www.svlp.org
Add yours to our list at [email protected]
Ten steps to learning to live with Violent Death: Adult Survivors Individual workbook kit & accompanying Calming Exercises CD
Order yours now
Current Postings at
Email: [email protected]
Or Call 616‐685‐0005
December 8, 1961 at age of
17,my sister, “Tiny” , the third
child of eight, was murdered.”
Iris is her symbol