Crime Victims Services Center offers free trauma support for families after homicides

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The rise in violence in Memphis has a far greater impact on our community.

“The global pandemic was one form of environmental trauma, but these homicides and this increase in violence is another significant form of environmental trauma,” said Sandy Bromley, director for the Shelby County Crime Victims and Rape Crisis center.

Sandy Bromley and her team at Shelby County Crime Victims and Rape Crisis center are the other first responders after a murder.

The center offers free and confidential services including counseling, help with securing funeral expenses reimbursement, and court accompaniment.

“If they need that extra support in court, we let them know we’re there to go to court with them with you. A lot of times they don’t know the court process, they’ve never had to sit in a courtroom,” said Tina Gray, Cross Services Team supervisor at the center.

Memphis police have responded to 128 murders so far this year, compared to 111 at the same time last year.

Gray said some neighborhoods have been impacted multiple times by back-to-back shootings and in those cases, the center offers debrief sessions at churches.

“Helped them to normalize that no, not only you are going through those normal grief reactions as we try to say, others are experiencing the same thing,” said Gray. “They don’t feel so alone, they don’t feel like they’re the only ones going through this.”

Bromley said without any trauma support, some crime victims can become victims again or become offenders. That’s why she said they try to step in as early as possible.

“So they don’t you know get caught up in the cycle of violence and so we want to make sure we are stopping those cycles when we can, and so good quality victim services is a violence prevention effort,” said Bromley.

Because of the pandemic, the Shelby County Crime Victims and Rape Crisis center says you must make an appointment to meet with them in person.

You can find more information about their services here.