Angelo Cusumano was just 13 years old, when his father was murdered while working at the family’s Sydney computer games business in 1995.
He understands what it’s like for a child to deal with such a traumatic and sudden loss.
Every day’s a challenge. You lose trust in the world. You’re angry. You ask a lot of questions – why? why us, why me, why did he go to work today?” he told 9News.
It is really tricky to explain. No one understands unless they’ve gone through it.”
That is why Cusumano and other members of the NSW Homicide Victims’ Support Group have been pushing so hard for Grace’s Place to be built.
It will be a world-first recovery centre to provide support and clinical care to young people who are going through the trauma of losing a loved one to homicide.
Construction will be able to start later this year, after the Federal Government offered $6.1 million dollars to get the centre off the ground.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said he was moved to help support and protect families.
After a tragedy – a violent tragedy – the families have to pick up the pieces, and for many young children that can be almost impossible he said.
Kathryn Szyszka, whose sister Anita Cobby was raped and murdered in 1986, today said she wasn’t even offered counselling at the time.
She believes the facility is necessary for children, “to make them realise that life can be good again and to be able to be happy and move forward in their life.”
Grace’s Place will be named after Kathryn and Anita’s mother, Grace Lynch, and is scheduled to open on her birthday in 2021.
Grace and Garry Lynch started the Homicide Victims’ Support Group in 1993, along with Peter Simpson, because they shared a terrible bond.
Peter’s daughter Ebony was only nine years old when she was raped and murdered while walking home from school in 1992.
Ebony had two teenage brothers, and Peter Simpson says they’ve both suffered immensely.
Emotionally on both of those boys, the impact’s been incredible. Had a place like Grace’s Place been available, their lives would have been so much easier,” he said.
All the families are using their own tragedies and experience now to help others, and Grace’s Place is the next step in their mission.