A helping hand in times of need

In light of the devastating news of a fatal shooting in Knotty Ash late last night, childhood bereavement charity, Winston’s Wish, have shared its condolences, support and guidance on how to talk to children about homicide-related death and offer a helping hand. 

This sad news will be affecting many children and families across the city of Liverpool and beyond this morning, whether they have a direct relation to the family or through reminding them of their own loved ones.  

As a society we find it very hard to think of the impact of death by violence on the family of the person who died, yet sadly children and young people may be more aware of murder and manslaughter as a cause of death than almost any other. 

Here Winston’s Wish offers some tips on how you could talk to children about incidents such as shootings: 

  • Talk to children using words they understand; give information to younger children a bit at a time 
  • Try and encourage children to ask questions 
  • Answer questions honestly and simply; talking about it won’t make it worse 
  • Accept that some things can’t be ‘made better’ 
  • Show willingness to talk about difficult things and use this as an opportunity to reassure them 
  • If children are asking questions, it is a good thing – it shows they trust you and it is better than keeping questions and worries to themselves 
  • Use the words ‘died’ and ‘dead’ with children of all ages. Although it can feel blunt, it helps children to be clear that ‘to die’ is different to ‘gone’ or ‘lost’ 
  • Remember that ‘super parents’ or ‘super teachers’ don’t exist. Just do and say what you can 
  • Don’t be afraid to show children how you are feeling. 

Children are also very inquisitive and want things to understand the reasons for things happening. Explaining to children why events like this happen can be daunting as an adult who doesn’t know the answer yourself. You could say something like: “No-one can completely know why. We know it wasn’t an accident. It seems as if {they} were killed because they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s so, so difficult to understand why anyone would be so cruel as to kill someone else.” 

Winston’s Wish provides support for grieving children, young people and for adults supporting them through its freephone helpline, email and crisis messenger. The charity’s website provides a lot of resources related to death and covers the difficult topics of murder and manslaughter too.

A useful resource can be found here https://www.winstonswish.org/death-through-homicide/
The Helpline is open 8am-8pm on 08088 020 021 or email ask@winstonswish.org

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