Our Story

The Calgary Homicide Support Society

Following a local news report regarding the lack of support in Calgary for families of homicide, Nancy Hixt of Global TV Calgary, contacted Debbie Hogarth and Karen Venables and suggested they consider starting such a group in Calgary.

In April of 2014 Debbie Hogarth and Karen Venables met for the first time in a coffee shop on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Although they had never met before, they had one definite commonality; both of their sons had been murdered in the city of Calgary—Karen’s 18 year old son Devin, in 2002 and Debbie’s 18 year old son Josh, in 2012. Debbie realized when she met Karen that she didn’t have to say a word; Karen ‘just knew’.

In the aftermath of Josh’s death, Debbie had sought out a variety of bereavement groups. She discovered that these groups left her feel like an ‘outsider’, because of the circumstances of Josh’s death. The loss of a child is devastating enough but when your child has died by the hand of another, the level and complexity of your grief has its own distinct issues.

The Calgary Homicide Support Society will provide the opportunity for those who have lost a family member to murder, to come together in a safe place and feel the support of others who “just know”.

Together, Debbie and Karen met with Justice Minister and Solicitor General, Jonathan Denis on May 2, 2014, to discuss possible funding opportunities to begin a homicide support group in Calgary.

From the moment these two mothers met, they knew that Calgary needed a homicide support group. With our start-up funding in place from the Alberta Government-Victims of Crime Fund, Debbie and Karen were well on their way to making their dream a reality. The Calgary Homicide Support Society will provide the opportunity for those who have lost a family member to murder, to come together in a safe place and feel the support of others who “just know”.

The Calgary Homicide Support Society was established in memory of:
For information about joining the Support Group