Families of murder victims: support

Last updated: 29 March 2017

Bereavement is always a painful experience. If you lose someone close to you because of a violent crime, it can be particularly devastating.

There are many organisations that can offer you support and advice.

Your police contact

After a violent crime, you'll be introduced to a Family Liaison Officer. These are specially trained police officers.

They will:

  • gather information from you and other family members about the person who died

  • pass your information onto the Senior Investigation Officer

  • act as a point of contact between you and the Senior Investigation Officer

  • keep you updated throughout the investigation

They'll also:

  • help with immediate tasks, such as identifying the body
  • with your consent, put you in touch with support organisations, like Victim Support Scotland
  • give you advice and guidance about the criminal justice system
  • help you manage any contact with the media
  • help answer any questions you may have

Victim Information and Advice

If the investigation leads to criminal charges, you may be introduced to a Victim Information and Advice officer.

They'll update you on the progress of the case and help you get in touch with support organisations.

The Money Advice Service has information and advice on what to do when someone dies.

Support organisations

Victim Support Scotland
Phone: 0345 603 9213 (weekdays 8am to 8pm)
Find out about call charges

Victim Support Scotland can help support people bereaved and affected by murder.

Your Family Liaison Officer can put you in touch with a local Victim Support Scotland office. Or you can contact Victim Support Scotland directly.

They can give you:

  • emotional support – giving access to counselling or support groups
  • practical support – helping with housing arrangements or taking you to the police station
  • support at court – arranging somewhere private for you to arrive or wait for a hearing

Petal – people experiencing trauma and loss
Phone: 01698 324 502
Petal support families and friends of murder and suicide victims through telephone counselling. They provide a drop-in centre in Hamilton and outreach programmes in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland
Telephone: 0845 600 2227
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm
Monday to Thursday, 6pm to 9pm
Cruse offer one-to-one counselling across Scotland. They give support through their helpline for anyone who has been bereaved.

The Samaritans
Phone: 08457 90 90 90 (24 hours a day, every day)
Email: jo@samaritans.org
Gives confidential emotional support for people experiencing distress, despair or suicidal thoughts.

The Compassionate Friends
Phone: 0345 123 2304 (10am to 4pm and 7pm to 10pm)
Offers support to bereaved parents and their families after the death of a child. The helpline is always answered by a bereaved parent. There's also an online forum where you can speak to other bereaved families.

Helpful guidance

This information pack includes advice about:

  • how the police, Procurator Fiscal and courts work
  • some of the arrangements you may have to make, such as registering the death and organising the funeral
  • the help and support available to you

This leaflet should be read alongside the information pack – it includes updates from the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014.