It’s important for victims and their survivors to understand their rights, says Kellie Cors-Atherly.
The mom knows all too well what it’s like to live through a loss.
She lost her son to a Pleasantville shooting in December 2012. Todd Mitchell was just 13.
Now, as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week begins, she is following this year’s theme: Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims.
It emphasizes the importance of inclusion in victim services, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office explained in a release.
“This year’s theme addresses how the crime victims field can better ensure that every crime victim has access to services and support,” said the announcement from Prosecutor Damon Tyner’s office. “And how professionals, organizations and communities can work together to reach all victims.”
A Day of Remembrance held from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Atlantic City’s All Wars Memorial Building will give survivors a chance to find out their rights, with testimonies from crime survivors.
days during the week drug addicts can come and get help rather than charges.
“It’s important to bring awareness to the impact that families go through when becoming a survivor,” said Cors-Atherly, whose Peace Amongst Youth group is sponsoring the event.
It will include information about their rights and the services available to them.
But just because these services are available, doesn’t mean they’re easily obtained by all, she said. “Very little of us qualify based upon the policies and procedures in place,” she said.
That’s why she made sure to point people toward a petition to change things.
I just signed a petition to Governor Phil Murphy: Dear Governor Murphy and Attorney General Grewal, We are a diverse group of crime victims (“survivors”) and organizations that serve crime survivors. We ask you to make major policy changes to support survivors and make our communities safer.
But she also wants to change how survivors and family members left behind handle things.
“I believe if we can begin to identify grief and depression, we can find ways to cope with it in a positive way,” Cors-Atherly said.
She points to the community’s self-destruction of addiction with both drugs and alcohol.
“I’m finding a lot of people turn to those sources to cope with things they’re feeling,” she said. “If they find different ways of healing, we can kind of try to change things going on in our community.”