In Orlando, where killings have hovered at record levels for more than two years, experts believe that survivors of murder victims are not getting the help they need, says the Orlando Sentinel. Typically, for each killing, 10 people are stricken by serious grief, says the National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children. Locally, few groups specialize in helping loved ones of murder victims with their emotional turmoil.
A federal grant of $26,400 goes in part to pay for a licensed counselor to meetings of an Orlando group called Bereaved Survivors of Homicide meetings this fiscal year. The rest goes to two counselors who provide the area’s only free one-on-one sessions to the loved ones of homicide victims. They served 57 clients last year. Orlando’s other support group, Mothers Against Homicide, runs without any outside funding. Similar programs struggle nationwide. In Miami, Victim Services — The Trauma Resolution Center, a well-respected group, slashed its staff of 25 to nine this spring because of insufficient funds. Mothers Against Murderers Association, an all-volunteer West Palm Beach support group, pays its $1,800-a-month office rent by pooling money from the founder’s family members. “Many of these efforts are led by survivors, and often they are overwhelmed by the effort,” said Kerrin Darkow of the Washington, D.C.-based National Center for Victims of Crime.