Victim Advocates attend to the needs of each
family member who mourns a homicide victim’s death.
Each homicide victim has a family who mourns their loss. In 2010 Atlanta Victim Assistance responded to 70% of the homicides that occurred in the City of Atlanta. That means in one year advocates attends to the needs of more than 200 mothers, fathers, children or siblings of homicide victims.
After a homicide the surviving family members may have to identify the body, address the media, navigate the courts and even be asked to defend the character of their loved one.
Early Crisis Intervention – Our advocates are on the scene, alongside first responders, to offer immediate crisis intervention to any family members who are present. Because an advocate is on scene the police can focus their attention on the investigation, while the advocate turns to the family’s needs.
Victim advocates can help families contact funeral homes, schedule the medical examiner visit (if necessary), notify school/employers about the crime, and gain permission to retrieve a victim’s property after the police have completed their investigation.
Surviving family members may be eligible to apply for the Crime Victims Compensation Program. This state program provides financial assistance with crime related expenses for eligible victims who have medical, funeral, crime scene clean-up and mental health counseling expenses. Victim advocates assist families in completing the required forms.
Throughout the early days and weeks after a homicide, our certified advocates gauge the surviving family member’s emotional stability and identify which support services are necessary to cope with the devastating loss.
The Survivors Support Group provides emotional support, by and among, other families. Because family members need working knowledge of the criminal justice system, victim advocates offer information that gives context to their current legal proceedings.
Any family survivor of homicide is welcome to join the survivors support group even if the murder did not happen in Atlanta. The group meets twice monthly.
Violence is a painful reminder about the need for community action. The Mother’s Walk for Peace honors loved ones lost to violence and is a call for peace in our communities. Mothers, surviving family members, law enforcement officers and government officials gather to bring the City’s commitment to safe communities to every neighborhood.
Each year we feature a few stories of a mother who lost her child to violence. Read this year’s emotional tribute to lives lost.