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Murder of a loved one leads to long-term psychological problems

17 October 2012
A national network of psychologists trained in dealing with the family of murder or manslaughter victims was set up earlier this year. Regular counselling often falls short of the specific needs of this group of people, and dozens of people are now being treated through this network.

Help is available via the new website The effectiveness of the treatment will be scientifically monitored in a four-year research project being carried out by the University of Groningen and Fonds Slachtofferhulp [Victim Support Fund].

On average, three people are murdered in the Netherlands every week. Eleven years after the event, almost three-quarters of their next of kin are still experiencing serious, long-term grieving problems and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. These figures are based on more than 200 parents, partners, adult children and siblings, all of whom have sought help via support organizations for fellow victims or Slachtofferhulp Nederland [Victim Support Netherlands].


Feelings of revenge, anger and injustice often interfere with the mourning process when a loved one is murdered, making it longer than if that person had died from natural causes. The University of Groningen is conducting this four-year study to analyse the problems facing next of kin in this situation.


‘It is shocking that these problems go on for so long,’ says Jos de Keijser, who is leading the research project. ‘This form of help was developed to focus not only on the loss of a loved one, but also on acknowledging the violent nature of his or her death’.

Help is provided through a network of psychologists, specially trained in counselling the families of murder or manslaughter victims. The treatment will be scientifically evaluated and corresponds with a national trend of paying more attention to the position of victims and next of kin. The study is partly funded by Fonds Slachtofferhulp.

Applying for help

People can apply for this help:

- via the new website, where more information about the treatment is available

- or by contacting Mariëtte van Denderen, MSc, Clinical Psychology, University of Groningen, tel. +31 (0)50 363 6512, e-mail  

Note for the press

More information:

- Dr Jos de Keijser, Clinical Psychology, University of Groningen, tel. +31 (0)50-368 8444, e-mail:

- Sandra Scherpenisse, Fonds Slachtofferhulp, Information and Communication, tel. +31 (0)6-46621536, e-mail:

Last modified:02 July 2018 12.41 p.m.
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