Ministry of Justice

Dealing with the Aftermath of Serious or Violent Crime and Sudden Death

Serious or Violent Crime

If you have been a victim of a serious crime you may suffer physical and/or emotional effects. These effects are not only painful but may be confusing and frightening to you as well. You may also feel frustrated by the incident itself and by the criminal justice system.

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Dealing with Sudden Death

The death of a family member or close friend may be one of the most painful events in a person’s life. When the death occurs unexpectedly, or is the result of homicide or some other traumatic event, the degree of distress is compounded. Sudden loss of a loved one may have wide-ranging consequences—not only intense emotional effects but also physical symptoms and financial hardship. The practical, legal, and financial matters that need to be sorted out after the death of a loved one can be overwhelming at a time when one is least equipped to deal with them. When a person dies suddenly or unexpectedly, these matters may be much more complex.

The attending physician (or coroner) pronounces death and fills out a medical certification of death. Where organ donation is possible, health care personnel discuss this with the family. If the person who died did not register for organ donation, consent of the next of kin is required. Staff at the healthcare facility will contact the family if there are personal belongings to pick up. The next of kin will be advised when the remains may be released for transfer.

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