School for Social Work
This research study was conducted to clarify the impact of the experienced homicide of a family member on mothering, post-homicide. Data was gathered regarding mothers' use and perception of community support services and providers' perception of the efficacy of those services currently available to surviving family members. Potential alternatives to already-existing services and modes of delivering these services to families impacted by violence were explored. In this dual-perspective flexible methods study, seven mother-participants and four community providers – comprised of three victim/witness advocates, who currently work in Massachusetts Court-based District Attorney's offices and one licensed independent clinical social worker, who has provided direct care services to individuals and families impacted by homicide – were interviewed independent of one another either by telephone or in person. Participants were asked specific questions and were invited to clarify information important to this investigator's understanding of their life experience and/or work. Findings of this study provided clear positive correlation between challenging mother-child dynamics and the experience of a homicide in the family. A majority of the eleven participants (from each group-set) suggested the development of a nationally-based foundation to better collaborate systems of response for individuals and families.
Berkowitz, Leah Elizabeth, "A homicide in the family : the dual perspective of mothers' experience parenting and use of community resources and community providers' report on services utilized by mothers and their children" (2007). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.