For Immediate Release: Friday, September 17, 2021
Contact on behalf of Alliance for Safety and Justice: kristina.whitaker@
AUSTIN CRIME SURVIVORS CALL ON LOCAL OFFICIALS TO FUND TRAUMA RECOVERY CENTER FOR VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE
150+ Local Crime Survivors Sign Open Letter, Say They Urgently Need Smart Solutions to Public Safety in Response to Violence
As 9 in 10 Texas Crime Victims Go Without Support, Survivors Tell Their Stories and Call for Action at Town Hall Meeting
AUSTIN – As Austin communities experiencing the most violence have been further destabilized by the pandemic, more than 150 Austin crime survivors released a letter urging the City Council to allocate funding for a long-awaited trauma recovery center (TRC). The letter, organized by the Texas chapter of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, a project of Alliance for Safety and Justice, is the latest plea to city and county officials after the much-needed funding was not included in the 2021-2022 city budget. The trauma recovery center would provide free services and support for local victims of violent crime, a model that has produced incredible results across the country.
At a town hall meeting Thursday night, crime survivors told their stories and detailed how a trauma recovery center would fill the gap in services for victims of violence in Austin. Alliance for Safety and Justice recently conducted a survey of Texas crime victims, in which they found that most of the state’s victims do not receive support for their recovery, despite the fact that four in 10 Texans reported being a crime victim in the last 10 years. The survey also found that seven in 10 violent crime victims have been victimized more than once, but only nine in 10 victims receive support from the state’s victim compensation program. Currently, there are 39 Trauma Recovery Centers across the country, but none in Texas.
“Without access to trauma recovery services, crime victims in the state of Texas aren’t given a chance to recover,” said Terra Tucker, Texas State Director for Alliance for Safety and Justice. “As violence continues to be experienced in communities that often lack victim services, we need our public officials to fund proven solutions to helping victims heal and keeping communities safe. We know this model works – nearly 75% of crime victims who have access to trauma recovery centers showed improved health and wellbeing. Survivors and their families, especially those in communities that experience violence the most, need action now.”
“When my son was killed, I was devastated, but it was the lack of essential services available to me after his death that kept me from overcoming the trauma years later,” said Jill Henderson, an Austin-based member of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice who lost her son to gun violence in 2017. “Too often, families of crime victims are forgotten, and cycles of suffering and violence continue to hurt our communities. To help the four in 10 Texans who’ve experienced violent crime, lawmakers must fund a Trauma Recovery Center in our city.”
The trauma recovery center model was developed to deliver comprehensive services for victims of violent crime, including mental health and crisis intervention, as well as assistance navigating the systems survivors often need to interact with to attain health and safety: hospitals, law enforcement, victim compensation, employment, housing, education, and others. Trauma recovery centers meet victims where they are by creating individualized plans for healing and support, and have proven to be incredibly successful in states across the country. Those who’ve benefited from trauma recovery center services are:
Nearly 60 percent more likely to return to work after their trauma;
Nearly 70 percent more likely to work with the legal system to close their case; and
Much more likely to see improvements in mental health and quality of life, with 74 percent showing improved health and wellbeing.
To view the full letter, click here.
To learn more about trauma recovery centers, please visit www.traumarecoverycentermodel.
ABOUT THE ALLIANCE FOR SAFETY AND JUSTICE
The Alliance for Safety and Justice is a national organization that aims to win new safety priorities in states across the country. It partners with leaders to advance state reform through networking, coalition building, research, education, and advocacy. It also brings together diverse crime survivors to advance policies that help communities most harmed by crime and violence, as part of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice – its national network of over 70,000 crime survivors, with thousands of members in Texas. For more information, visit https://