HOUSTON – The local numbers are staggering and the wounds inflicted by violent crime in this community can take years to heal.
SURVIVAL, Inc. is currently working with more than 30 people in Chickasaw County who have been the victim of violent crime. The organization is working with hundreds of people in a six-county area.
“Unless you have been a victim of violent crime you don’t know how it changes your life,” said Mary Spencer, SURVIVAL Victims Advocate. “More importantly to us, if you do become the victim of a violent crime we want you to know there are people who are out there who can help you deal with the pain, deal with the legal system and who will be with you a long as you need them.”
Spencer said victims of violent crime come from all walks of life and include parents, children, grandparents and even friends and co-workers.
Spencer said being the victim of a violent crime is frightening and yet thousands of local residents go through it every year.
“People are dealing with grief and then go about putting their lives back together,” said Spencer. “Thousands of programs provide services and sanctuary to crimes victims throughout the United States.
“They are part of state government agencies and private non-profit, faith-based and charitable organizations. And we know how to reach them.”
A key part of SURVIVAL’s work is advocating for crime victim rights.
SURVIAL was instrumental in crafting legislation called the Mississippi Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights that requires such things as victims to be notified in the event of an arrest, how criminal proceedings work, giving a Victim Impact Statement and when parole or a pardon is being considered.
The group lobbies lawmakers for legislation to help crime victims find justice.
SURVIVAL works with victims of crimes such as homicide, rape, drunk driving, domestic violence, human trafficking, child abuse and neglect and elder abuse and neglect.
SURVIVAL also is connected to compensation programs that reimburse victims for medical costs, mental health counseling, funeral and burial costs and lost wages.
“We are committed to ensuring that no one has to endure the murder of a loved one alone,” said Spencer. “We can’t change the tragic loss, but together we can ease the pain and prevent further victimization.”
For more information on SURVIAL please call their 24/7 toll-free crisis line at 1-888-915-7788. Their website is located at www.wearesurvial.org.