Calgary, AB,

Mothers of homicide victims establish support group

Karen Venables’ world completely changed in 2002 when her son, Devin, was killed after one punch in an altercation he tried to walk away from.   In 2012, Debbie Hogarth was devastated when her son, Joshua, was stabbed to death.

In 2014, Karen and Debbie met for the first time.  Although they had never met before, they had one definite commonality - both of their sons had been murdered in Calgary.  As they spoke, they realized how valuable it would be for families who have lost a loved one to homicide to be able to come together and share their experiences.

Families of homicide victims are known to experience unique emotions and need different types of support when coping with the death of their loved one.  Karen and Debbie believed that by offering a safe and welcoming environment for these families to meet with their peers, it could be the difference between “hanging on” and “moving on.”

Today, with a grant from Alberta Justice and the Solicitor General Victims of Crime Fund, Karen and Debbie have achieved their goal and are launching the Calgary Homicide Support Society. The society will operate a peer support group that is open to all family members, over 18, of homicide victims. The group will be facilitated by a forensic psychologist offering expertise both in mental and emotional health, as well as the criminal justice system.

For complete details on registering for the group, please go to the Calgary Homicide Support Society website at (

Membership is free and the first meeting will be held in late June.