Nearly 100 Crime Survivors from Across the State Call for Reforms and Hold a Vigil in Memory of Loved Ones
Survivors and Elected Officials Advocate for Trauma Recovery Services and Other Reforms to Help End Cycles of Crime
PHOENIX – Nearly 100 crime survivors and families of murdered Arizonans crowded the state capitol today to urge lawmakers to expand support for crime victims and make communities safer. Crime survivors were joined by elected officials at the first Survivors Speak Arizona – hosted by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice (CSSJ) – with families holding photos of murdered loved ones and advocating for public safety reforms.
Arizona members of CSSJ are leading the fight for historic safety reforms in the state. Most recently, the organization of local crime survivors secured the final passage of HB 2604, which extended official and emergency orders of protections for victims of crime. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Ducey on April 22.
“As a domestic violence survivor, I understand how unaddressed trauma can have a lasting impact on your life and the lives of your loved ones,” said Celina Jyoti, crime survivor and member of Arizona Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, who escaped an abusive marriage. “My children and I are still on the road to recovery after years of physical and mental abuse from my ex-husband. Arizona lawmakers must continue to support communities most harmed by violence by making sure that we have access to trauma recovery services and the resources that we need to heal.”
In an emotional press conference and vigil, Celina Jyoti and other survivors with CSSJ called for the passage of legislation to establish standards and funding for the state’s first trauma recovery center and guarantee stable funding for victim compensation funds to help crime victims on the road to recovery after experiencing violence.
According to a statewide survey of Arizona crime victims’ views of safety and justice, four out of 10 Arizonans have been a victim of a crime in the last ten years.
Many victims reported suffering from physical and mental trauma, and financial hardship as a result of their victimization. Seven out of ten crime victims reported having experienced anxiety or stress that interfered with their well-being.
- The majority of crime victims said they wanted, but did not receive financial assistance, counseling, medical assistance, or another type of service aimed at helping people recover and stabilize.
- One in four victims said they had to take time away from work or school to recover from the incident. Of the victims that needed time off, a third lost a job because of it.
- Four out of ten victims wanted to relocate to new housing as a result of the crime they experienced, but 40% of them were not able to successfully relocate.
- By a six-to-one margin, crime victims say that investing in strong, healthy communities is the best way to reduce crime, compared with increasing funding for prisons and jails.
“Victimization and recovery are two separate battles, and we need lawmakers to prioritize solutions that address both,” said Aswad Thomas, gun violence survivor and national director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “Today, Arizona crime survivors stood before elected officials to share their stories and call for support in the aftermath of violence. It’s a proven way to improve public safety and help address the root causes of crime.”
Crime survivors are calling for common-sense policies that make Arizona communities safer for all, including bipartisan bills to:
- Establish standards and funding for the state’s first trauma recovery center
- Guarantee stable funding for victim compensation funds
ABOUT CRIME SURVIVORS FOR SAFETY AND JUSTICE
Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice is a national network of crime survivors, including more than 1,500 members across Arizona, joining together to create healing communities and shape public safety policy. With over 90,000 members and growing, including chapters and leaders across the country, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice is building a movement to promote public safety policies that help the people and communities most harmed by violence. The organization is a flagship project of Alliance for Safety and Justice.
For more information, visit: https://cssj.org/.