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SAMM – Support After Murder/Manslaughter.

Murder. A nasty word that is an everyday occurrence in today’s world. I came across this word when I had just turned 9 years old. I was at school waiting for my Mum to collect me, on what was supposed to be my final day. Mum had completed her Prison Officer Training and was due to be posted to Holloway. Imagine my surprise when I was collected by the Police. 3 hours later, my Uncle appeared and it was left to him to break the news to me. Mum had been Murdered by her ex-lover, who could not accept the relationship was over. I stayed with my Nan until I was 16, being constantly reminded by her. I left school and within 5 years I moved to London to start work within the Security Industry. During these years, I had not been offered any counselling or support to help me come to terms. I in time found it a charity called SAMM – Support After Murder/Manslaughter

Support After Murder & Manslaughter is a registered national charity which was started in 1988.  We currently support over 3,000 members and families throughout the UK. There is a Charity called Compassionate Friend’s which deal in all kinds of bereavement, but they have nothing for bereaved Children. SAMM Started as a charity called POMC. (Parents Of Murdered Children). It was soon changed to its current name.

There is a support group for Children under the age 18 called Winstons Wish, where we do refer family members children to.

 Each year in the UK, some 750 people from all walks of life are the victims of murder or manslaughter, plunging their families into shock, grief and despair.  SAMM supports the families through this nightmare, helping them to recover and to rebuild their lives.  All of SAMM’s volunteers and trustees have themselves been bereaved by murder or manslaughter, putting them in a prime position to help other families.

 The trauma of losing a loved one in a violent way is devastating and affects every aspect of people’s lives. As well as causing severe and long lasting depression (sometimes suicidal), the shock can destroy relationships and break up families. Those affected are often unable to work and become dependent on benefits, sometimes thrusting the family into poverty. People traumatised in this way are highly vulnerable and need the intervention and support of SAMM to be able to put their lives back on track and eventually stand on their own feet again.

 Our support involves a wide range of projects, including a national 24 hour helpline, an online forum, weekend retreats, as well as the training of professionals (such as the police) in dealing with bereaved families, and preventative work with young offenders.

 For the past 14 years, SAMM was funded by the Government, but this year that funding was cut by a full 100%.  At present we are running on our reserves whilst continually submitting funding applications to the Lottery and Trusts, Police Authorities etc.   For more information on our charity please go to www.samm.org.uk or contact the National Office on 0121 4711200.

For the record, the man who took my Mum’s life, was caught 12 hours later, and remanded in Lincoln Prison. He never faced trial, as he found hanging in his cell in Lincoln Prison 36 hours after he was caught. I became a Trustee for SAMM in 2010, and continue to be involved.

David Reid.