Monday, April 1, 2013

Taking stock of our resources

Today, several media outlets circulated news about a push to establish a National Compassion Fund for victims of mass shootings. Families of some of the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks and of several highly publicized mass-shooting events have created a petition on the White House’s petition page to collect funds and to give them directly to the victims’ families. Since most people do not think about victim services until they need it or until it is in the news, this petition provides a perfect opportunity to explore the resources that St. Louis has to offer in the case of a local mass-shooting attack.

Need: Funeral & Medical Expenses
Services: Mo CVC can provide up to $5000 in reimbursement for funeral expenses and up to $25,000 in medical expenses, lost wages, and/or loss of support for children.

Need: Counseling for Adults
Services: Free trauma-specific counseling for anyone age 10 and up

Need: Counseling for Children
Resource: Family Resource Center, Annie’s Hope, and others

Need: Spiritual Support
Services: A volunteer minister is paired with grieving families to provide sensitivity and support to the families of homicide victims, to rebuild and strengthen relationships between the Police Department and the community and to reduce the likelihood of retaliation

Need: Group Counseling
Resource: NOVA (National Organization for Victim Assistance) Gateway Crisis Response Team
Services: CRT responds to crises in the workplace, neighborhoods, organizations and corporations with group crisis intervention and companioning.

This list is by no means exhaustive of all possible needs, but it also does not cover all of the available services. Listing all of the resources available would far exceed the limits of this blog and the limits of its readers' attention spans. While we cannot provide direct funds to victims like a National Compassion Fund, victim advocates at CVAC will assess what needs a family has and will do their best to find a resource to meet those needs. You can reach CVAC at our hotline 314-652-3623.

Comments by Jessica Meyers, Director of Advocacy Services

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