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The Road Ahead: Connecting, Collaborating, Remembering Distress Centres’ First Survivors of Homicide Loss City Forum

  • North York Memorial Community Hall 5110 Yonge Street Toronto ON, M2N 5W4 (map)

It’s well known that Toronto experienced a profoundly tragic year in 2018 with regards to homicides and gun violence. The need for support for those experiencing a homicide loss has never been greater. Since the early 2000s Distress Centres’ Survivor Support Program has filled a gap in service offering face-to-face individualized and group support for friends and family members impacted by a homicide.

Sudden violent death remains a very isolating experience. Due, in part to the isolation, the long-term complications of living in the aftermath of a homicide can be worsened without a support network for sharing the most painful and challenging parts of the loss. Survivors have often spoke about the need for a gathering of peers, others like them struggling to cope with their loss in order to network, share and support one another.

On May 30th during National Victims of Crime Week, Distress Centres will be hosting our first City-Wide Forum. At The Road Ahead: Connecting, Collaborating, Remembering, we hope to bring together friends, family members and others who experienced a homicide loss. We will have guest speakers and community representatives. We hope to encourage honest discussion, a chance to hear words of support and an opportunity to honour the lives of those who have died and those left behind.

Speakers / performers:

Patricia Hung - a retired police officer, certified life coach, author and speaker. Survivor of homicide loss. Patricia will be rpesenting: “Joy in the Aftermath” during the event.

Medicine Song Woman Brenda MacIntyre - a Goose Bump Giving Singer, Motivational Speaker and Author of the Medicine Song Oracle Cards.

Dr. Tanya Sharpe - a community based social worker in the field of interpersonal violence since 1993. Associate Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto, after serving on the faculty at the University of Maryland- Baltimore, School of Social Work for 11 years.

Audette Shephard - an advocate for justice, for support for victims of crime, and for community safety. Survivor of homicide loss.

Tickets include:

Dinner, refreshments and a Grab Bag

Buy tickets online here

We want everyone who would like to take part to be able to attend. If you need any assistance please reach out to Alex

416-595-1716 or alex@torontodistresscentre.com


More info on speakers / performers:

Patricia Hung - a retired police officer, certified life coach, author and speaker.

Patricia began her policing career in Intelligence as a translator during a major drug importation investigation. She then worked in Communications, frontline policing, helped execute gang-exiting programs and many other areas in the Service.

After the homicide of her 14 year old daughter, Patricia shifted her focus to support victims of crime and retired as the Victim Witness Support Coordinator for the Toronto Police Service.

Patricia is the Chair of the Victim Advisory Committee for Correctional Services Canada and the Parole Board of Canada for Ontario and Nunavut. Patricia works part time for Victim Services Toronto, and volunteers for numerous organizations across Canada.

Her work has been published in Canadian Family Magazine. She is the author of Seven Helpful Ways to Support Those Who Grieve and is a contributing Author in the best-selling book series Adventures in Manifesting.


Medicine Song Woman Brenda MacIntyre is a Goose Bump Giving Singer, Motivational Speaker and Author of the Medicine Song Oracle Cards.

The Juno-award winning singer has shared her magic, leadership and soul on national TV channels such as MuchMusic, CTV, APTN, and Global and for appreciative audiences of 30 to 3000. Her music has been featured on CBC Radio and hundreds of other radio stations, garnering top ten status multiple times. She has shared the stage with the start from The Secret, Michael Beckwith, and New York Times Best-Selling authors Gregg Braden and the late Dr. Emoto.

Brenda began an intensive healing journey at an indigenous women’s healing lodge in the 90s, where a Navajo medicine woman recognized her as a healer. Since then, Brenda’s mentorship, speaking and spiritual singing have helped thousands of women around the world to amplify their voice and the power of who they are. After her son was murdered in 2016, Brenda developed chronic pain. She now speaks and sings to create awareness and healing for people affected by grief, trauma and chronic pain.

Dr. Tanya Sharpe - a community based social worker in the field of interpersonal violence since 1993. Associate Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto, after serving on the faculty at the University of Maryland- Baltimore, School of Social Work for 11 years.

Her research focuses on examining sociocultural factors that influence the coping strategies of Black family members of homicide victims for the purpose of developing culturally appropriate interventions that can best assist them in their management of grief and bereavement. Dr. Sharpe has developed, implemented and evaluated community-based programs for children and families coping with: interpersonal violence (e.g., homicide, suicide, intimate partner violence, human made and natural disasters). Her comprehensive Model of Coping for African American Survivors of Homicide Victims (MCAASHV) (Sharpe, 2015) has informed; culturally appropriate interventions (Sharpe, Iwamoto, Massey & Michalopoulos, in press), a tool of measurement for African American’s coping with homicide violence and best practices that support African American survivors of homicide victims throughout their process of grief and bereavement. She is the founder of the Homicide Research Consortium (HRC), an international collective group of scholars focused on raising the standard of research and best practice for African American/ Black survivors of homicide victims and violence through collaborative research and scholarship.

Dr. Sharpe is the Endowed Chair in Social Work in the Global Community at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. As chair she is focused on developing new and building upon existing community-based and trans national partnerships for the purpose of developing a global legacy of culturally-responsive research and practice for overrepresented but under-researched Black, African and Caribbean survivors of homicide victims.

She is the recipient of multiple awards including the Governor of Maryland's Victim Assistance Award, the NASW Maryland Chapter’s 2016 Social Work Educator of the Year, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Diversity Recognition Award for Outstanding University of Maryland, Baltimore Faculty, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Special Recognition Award for co-developing a course entitled Freddie Gray-Baltimore: Past, Present and Moving Forward, and the University of Maryland’s Organization of African American Students in Social Work’s inaugural Spotlight Award.

Dr. Sharpe has been a community based social worker in the field of interpersonal violence since 1993. She completed her Ph.D. in Social Work from Boston College and recently began her tenure as an Associate Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto, after serving on the faculty at the University of Maryland- Baltimore, School of Social Work for 11 years.

Audette Shephard

Audette Shephard’s only child Justin Garth Shephard was born on February 21, 1982 and was murdered on June 23, 2001, at the age of 19. Justin had been one of Canada’s most promising upcoming basketball players and he dreamed of joining his half-brother Jamaal Magloire in the NBA.

Out of much sorrow came much resolve for Ms. Shephard, as she developed a strong passion towards helping youth and finding solutions to end youth violence. Ms. Shephard co-founded UMOVE (United Mothers Opposing Violence Everywhere) shortly after Justin’s murder. UMOVE is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization comprised of a group of mothers who have lost children to senseless acts of violence and other supportive members from the community

Ms. Shephard has received numerous awards, most notably the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for outstanding Canadians who make a difference in our city and country (2012), the Scotiabank Global Transaction Banking’s “Woman of Distinction” award (2008), the “Global Citizen Award” (2008), the African Canadian Achievement Award (2008), the Maja Award for “Woman of Courage” (2006), and the Bob Marley Award for promoting peace in communities (2002). Ms. Shephard was also a member of former Toronto Mayor David Miller’s Advisory Committee for Community Safety.

She is currently a Manager, Trade Finance, Global Transaction Banking at Scotiabank. Ms. Shephard continues to be a strong advocate for justice, for support for victims of crime, and for community safety. She also volunteers with the Seventh Day Adventist Church Prison Ministry.

Buy tickets online here

Tickets include: Dinner, refreshments and a Grab Bag

Contact: Alex@torontodistresscentre.com for more info