Overlooked & Forgotten is a research project which aims to help inform or develop a new model of support for those who have been affected by youth violence related murder. A model that has been informed by the voices and experiences of those directly impacted.
The campaign is spearheaded by Karen Green Stewart who lost her son Lamar to youth violence in 2017. After losing Lamar, Karen was shocked to find that bereavement services were biased and inaccessible by some of the most important people in Lamar’s life.
“The passing of my son Lamar was and still is the most difficult heartbreaking senseless feeling of grief that I and my family have ever endured. And I know there are many other families and friends in the community that have also experienced these feelings as a result of youth violence.
In the early stages, bereavement services offered to my family seemed unconnected, bias and only targeted towards the immediate family. In the case of my son there was no bereavement support offered to extended members of the family such as his cousins, as well as his friends, neighbours, or the shopkeeper that saw him almost every day. All these people had a relationship with him for his whole life, but there was nothing.
I ask myself the question - are these individuals not impacted by his death? A death so sudden, in such a way.
What I want to see in the future is for services to educate themselves on the impact a death has, not just on the immediate family, but the wider community. They need to understand the ripple effect it has. When a person dies there are many different people who surround that person who are affected by the loss. Especially young people. They go to school, they have friends and social media. They are so many different people in their lives and those people are all equally just as affected by the loss.
There needs to be support in place within our current bereavement services, so they can be equipped to work with anyone who has experienced great loss and trauma. So, people can make some sense of their loss and trauma and manage it in a more positive way as they move forward in life.”
Safer London works with young Londoners, families and communities affected by violence and exploitation.
We work alongside some of the most high risk children and young people in London, supporting them to build positive futures for themselves.