BY TOBY PORTER
The family of a stabbing victim traumatised by his death have set up a network to support the loved ones of people bereaved by similar crimes.
The relatives of Luther Edwards, a Stockwell father-of-two who died in July of 2016, say their ordeal was made harder by the lack of help they received at the time.
But cousin Angeleen Hill has united with another group in Hackney, Enough is Enough, to create Violent Crime Help and Referral Scheme (VCHARS) to ensure families are not left to fend for themselves.
More than 15 people have already come forward to do volunteer work for its crucial tasks.
The service was set up in memory of Luther, stabbed to death on July 29, 2016 after watching boxing bouts at York Hall in Bethnal Green.
His family have witnessed first hand what they say is the lack of help, support and information available to a victim’s families.
Angeleen has set it up jointly with Tracy Prescott, who organised several Enough is Enough marches in Hackney following several killings north of the river two years ago.
Angeleen said: “We want to ensure families get the right support. Every time someone has died, there has been very little help for the family. And it does not seem to be getting any better. Violent crime is not falling.
“Grieving is mentally and physically draining for everyone involved. But there is no support.
“It is not the police’s job – they are there to investigate crime. They do not have the manpower to give counselling and support.
“Violent crime affects us all whether we accept it or not. Children are killing children.
“We cannot choose to accept this as the new norm.
“Our hope is that Luther’s memory can impact and help those that need it and fill the visible gap in the current system.”
Victim Support was specifically set up for those directly affected – so in the case of a murder, they are not geared to helping the wider family. Nor do they have funds to do so.
So Angeleen wants VCHARS to plug that gap.
She said: “We have had a lot of people get in touch already. London seems to have been taking the hits.
“But some of the calls we’ve had already have come from Birmingham – which highlights how this is not just a London problem.
“Until we can properly look at why this is happening, we will never be able to find an overall solution.
“At this stage, it is just writing to lots of organisations, offering them what help we can and just saying we are here.”
For more details and for help, go to www.vchars.uk