Making Sense of Murder Abroad: Exploring the Post-Homicide Experience of Co-Victims of Murder which Occurs in a Foreign Country

Brolan, Liam (2022) Making Sense of Murder Abroad: Exploring the Post-Homicide Experience of Co-Victims of Murder which Occurs in a Foreign Country. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Liam Brolan PhD Thesis published_Final version_Submitted Dec 2021_Final Award Oct 2022.pdf - Accepted Version

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The act of murder carries a range of significant consequences, not only for the direct victim of the interpersonal violence, but also for those closely related to them. In the time following their bereavement, “co-victims” of murder must come to terms with the sudden, unexpected, and irreversible absence of a loved-one, which – unlike in cases of non-violent bereavement – is attributable to the malicious and intentional actions of another. Regardless of the location in which it occurs, the traumatic impact of murder on surviving family members is considerable. However, several, additional complications arise in the “post-homicide experience” of those bereaved through murder which takes place in a foreign country.

As such, through a series of semi-structured interviews with the family members of murder victims who were killed abroad, this thesis documents and explores the key elements of their post-homicide journey and draws attention to the way in which their experience of co-victimisation has been shaped and influenced by the international nature of the crime.

Throughout the thesis, it is argued that the co-victim experience in cases of murder abroad is distinct from those who are bereaved through murder in national circumstances, due primarily to the presence of several practical issues including repatriation, language barriers, international travel, media attention, and variations in foreign policing practice and criminal justice procedure. These issues, when viewed holistically, can often prolong, exacerbate, and intensify the already traumatic nature of their experience and subsequently prevent co-victims from being able to “make sense” of their bereavement.

This thesis augments and advances the limited body of qualitative work that explores the implications of murder in these relatively rare and particularly challenging circumstances. Therefore, having presented and discussed the subjective experience of co-victimisation in seven cases of murder involving British citizens in a foreign country, this thesis makes several academic and practical recommendations for the future. By emphasising the importance of the co-victim narrative to a more comprehensive understanding of crime, this thesis represents a point of departure for the continued criminological investigation into the phenomenon of murder abroad.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
6 December 2021Submitted
13 October 2022Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Homicide; Murder; Bereavement; Victimisation; Co-Victimisation; Secondary Victimisation; Foreign Country; Grief; Victimiology; Trauma; Post-Homicide Experience
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-01 - social sciences (non-specific)
CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-02 - sociology
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > College of Law, Social and Criminal Justice
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2024 12:16
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2024 12:49

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