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Breaking the News: Death Notification Training

Notifying a family of a loved one's sudden death is one of the most difficult and stressful tasks police officers perform. In these situations, officers must not only deal with the shock and grief of the family, but also their own emotions. Training is crucial for preparing police, emergency response personnel, and other support workers to communicate with survivors in an informed and competent way during a tragic situation.

Death Notification Training

For several years, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada), a charitable organization committed to stopping impaired driving and supporting the victims of this violent crime, has offered death notification training to members of the first response and victim support network across Canada. Recently, CPKN partnered with MADD Canada to adapt its traditional seminar-based Death Notification training program to an online format.

"When you knock on that door, you know there is a strong possibility that you may be about to change someone's life forever," says Lloyd Grahame, a retired Windsor police officer, MADD Canada death notification trainer, and lead subject matter expert for the online transition project. "Learning how to deliver such devastating news in the best possible way can go a long way in easing the pain and shock of surviving family members."

While MADD Canada's team of death notification trainers have provided training on the most current and compassionate approaches to death notification to tens of thousands of individuals across Canada, this new web-based delivery model will reach audiences even in the most remote areas of the country.

Focusing on building the confidence of those who are tasked with delivering difficult messages, the Death Notification course includes information on dealing with personal apprehensions, how to prepare for a notification, understanding survivor reactions, answering questions, and what an officer should and should not do and say during this time. Every aspect of this course is designed to instruct an officer on the best ways to empower the bereaved and enable them to take control of their own grieving process and begin to heal.

For more information about this course, please visit Death Notification course page.