For 45 years Parents of Murdered Children has offered comfort, support and resources for families as they navigate through the aftermath of incredible loss — the loss of a child by murder. The violence of that kind of death compounds the pain.
Those services have been hard to come by in Washington until recently.
Washington is now home to a new chapter of POMC. Such an organization is, sadly, sorely needed. King County and the state have seen an uptick in homicides. According to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, there were 394 murders in 2022, an increase of 16.6% from 2021. That means hundreds of families and individuals are impacted each year by the violent death of a loved one.
One of the organization’s missions is to “minimize the emotional pain and to restore a sense of power and control to the survivors.”
Often when a person is murdered, family and friends gather to lend immediate support to grieving survivors with words such as “I understand how you must feel.” Though well-intended, those words often ring hollow. But with POMC, surviving family members do have people in their corner who truly can understand their emotions.
As time passes, often too, so does that immediate support from friends, which experts say can compound feelings of loneliness and anger. But POMC chapters help build long-lasting supportive relationships with families and offer assistance in counseling to deal with the immediate shock and the long-term trauma; financial and medical assistance; and funeral expenses.
The road to justice for victims’ families can take years. That’s why it’s important to have victims advocates who can accompany survivors to court hearings or be a listening ear throughout a trial.
Washington prosecutors and police departments should partner with POMC to ensure families are updated with information. The launch of the Evergreen State’s chapter is welcome as it works to educate the public, advocate for justice and reconstruct lives.