Getting Help

Getting Help

Parents Of Murdered Children Inc. is a national organization providing ongoing emotional support for parents, immediate family members and other survivors to help them build a new life and to promote a healthy resolution.

Contact: National Office at 888-818-POMC or to learn about a nearby chapter.

The organization, which has two chapters in Virginia, provides a list of feelings that survivors experience, including:

* Isolation and helplessness in a world that frequently blames the victim.

* Guilt for not having protected the victim.

* Endless grief.

* Inability to function on the job.

* Murderer, if found, is afforded all the help, while survivors have few rights.

* Bitterness and loss of faith in the American criminal justice system.

* Outrage over the murder’s sentence.

* Frustration at not being allowed inside the courtroom at the time of the trial.

Other problems that survivors encounter are:

* Sensational and/or inaccurate media coverage.

* Lack of information.

* Medical expenses for stress-related illnesses and professional counseling for surviving family members.

* Constant reliving of the act through the parole process.

Reaction to Crisis, although reaction varies from one person to another.

* Shock and confusion

* Numbness

* Focus on survivor’s personal loss

* Horror over the probable suffering the victim experienced

* Consumed with the need to know every detail

* Panic attacks

* Fixed on maintaining day-to-day routine

* Restlessness and insomnia

* Flashbacks to when parent learned of the tragedy

* Revisiting imagined crime

* Fear for one’s own life and of loved ones

* Self-blame for not preventing the murder

* Hostility toward others because the child is gone

* Ideas of suicide, not being able to imagine going on without the child.

* Feeling as if watching yourself from a distance

It’s difficult for survivors to know when any of these feelings will predominate.