Hundreds of Crime Survivors from Across the State Call for Reforms to Help Victims Heal, End Cycles of Crime, While Honoring Loved Ones Lost to Violence
Survivors and Elected Officials Advocate for Expanded Protections for Victims and Other Reforms to Help End Cycles of Crime
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Hundreds of crime survivors and families of murdered Flordians gathered at 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 Survivors Speak Florida – an annual event organized by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice (CSSJ) – with families holding photos of murdered loved ones and advocating for public safety reforms.
Florida members of CSSJ are leading the fight for historic safety reforms in the state. In 2019, CSSJ helped pass HB 7125, which removed barriers for crime victims to access the state’s victim compensation program, raised the threshold for felony theft, reduced prison time for technical probation violations, and eliminated restrictions to occupational licenses for people with a past conviction. CSSJ also partnered with Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody to launch the state’s first trauma recovery center in 2021.
“The solutions that we are fighting for will help break cycles of crime and make our communities safer and more equitable,” said Megan Hobson, gun violence survivor and member of Florida Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “We are urging our elected leaders to remove barriers to healing for crime victims and create pathways for those previously incarcerated.”
In an emotional press conference and vigil, Megan Hobson and other survivors with CSSJ called for elected officials to provide expanded protections for crime victims such as job protections, prioritize rehabilitation by improving Florida’s probation system, and support record sealing for those with low-level records so that they can get back to work.
According to a statewide survey, one in three Floridians have been victimized in the past 10 years. 67% of victims describe their experience as traumatic, yet only 16% felt supported by the justice system, the survey found.
The majority of Florida crime victims support investments in prevention, rehabilitation, education, and workforce development for addressing crime as opposed to increasing incarceration and lengthening prison sentences.
“We are here today to bring together survivors and families from communities most impacted by crime and violence to heal and elevate their voices in support of just public safety solutions that put victims first,” said Aswad Thomas, national director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice.
ABOUT CRIME SURVIVORS FOR SAFETY AND JUSTICE
Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice is a national network of crime survivors, with more than 13,000 members across Florida, joining together to create healing communities and shape public safety policy. With more than 180,000 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 crime and gun violence. For more information, visit: https://cssj.org/.