BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — The pain of losing a loved one to homicide can leave you devastated, but for some victim family members, the vicious cycle of anger and violence stops with them.
Families remembered their loved ones at the State House during the 12
th annual Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month. There are nearly 200 homicides a year in Massachusetts and each victim is survived by family members who suffer the anguish of their loss.
“The impact of homicide survivors is one of the most critical and neglected public health issues facing our country today,” said Dr. Clementina Chery, whose 15-year-old son Louis D. Brown was gunned down in the crossfire of gang violence. Dr. Chery founded the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute in his memory.
Nevertheless, many family members of murder victims advocate for forgiveness and love, so that the violence in their communities is put to an end.
“It’s not easy to forgive, but it is necessary for the greater good, for the bigger picture because a hurt person will hurt a person that will hurt a person,” said Michael Jo Santos of New Bedford.
Through organizations like the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, family members of homicide victims can receive mental health services, counseling and burial assistance.
Attorney General Martha Coakley said it’s important for survivors to tell lawmakers about their pain so family support services continue to be funded. Victims and survivors of violent crime are encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s office if they require compensation for things like medical expenses, lost financial support and crime scene cleanup.
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