Crime Victims Remembered by AG Victims Compensation DivisionBy Lawayne Childrey | Published 06 Dec 2010 08:44am |
Losing a loved one to a violent crime is never easy, especially during the holidays. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports on a special program that helps victims and their families cope with the stress of their loss.
The holidays are usually filled with laughter and cheer, but for Imari McDonald of Jackson and hundreds of other Mississippians, it will be anything but joyous.
"My family lost our father this spring in March to a violent crime so we're just here to celebrate his memory and stay together as a family and stay strong."
McDonald's family was one of dozens from across the state who traveled to Jackson yesterday to honor their loved ones. Each family placed an ornament on a giant Christmas tree at the Attorney General’s office. Doris Weaver is a victims advocate from the gulf coast region.
" as we stand and look at the tree that the ornaments has been placed there by the families of survivors of homicide victims, it’s a way of saying to the world we remember. Do you remember with us? Can we have just a little bit of hope? And some of them get just a little bit of peace from this but when they go home that hurt is still in their hearts."
The remembrance tree is an annual effort by the AG' Crime Victims Compensation Division. Though out the year, Weaver says the division provides assistance for victims’ families including funeral costs, certain living expenses and support though the legal process.
"And it is money that offenders pay in as they go through the court system that allows the state to provide this money. It's not tax money and I think its very important for the families to know that."
State Attorney General Jim Hood says, unfortunately, more victims will be needing help in the weeks to come.
"Especially here at Christmas we will probably see a lot more burglaries and therefore we caution people to be more careful in their homes and make sure they lock their doors and things like that."
Hood says last year, his office paid out 3 and a half million dollars to victims of violent crimes and their families. Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.
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