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MEDIA ADVISORY: 16th Annual Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month


November 20 - December 20

Contact: 617-825-1917


WHAT: Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month (SHVAM) is a month-long effort to educate the public and policymakers about the impact of murder on families and communities and recognize the diverse contributions of the survivor’s movement. The theme of 2016 is “Inform, Influence, and Impact Policy.”

Since SHVAM was established in 2000 through 2015, more than 2,558 people have been murdered in Massachusetts (statistics from FBI UCS Annual Crime Reports). For every person who is murdered, there are at least 10 impacted family members left behind to cope with ongoing grief and trauma.  There are more than 25,580 surviving family members mourning loved ones killed in Massachusetts over the past sixteen years.

Survivors of murder victims have taken a leadership role in peacemaking through advocacy, education, and organizing. SHVAM is the time to highlight their work and the need for statewide coordinated, compassionate, and consistent support and services in the immediate aftermath of a murder and ongoing opportunities for healing in the months and years afterward.

WHO: The Louis D. Brown Peace Institute is the convening agency behind Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month. The Peace Institute is a center of healing, teaching, and learning for families and communities impacted by murder, trauma, grief, and loss. The Peace Institute was founded in 1994 and is the go-to homicide response agency in Massachusetts.

WHERE: Massachusetts is the only state in the country to acknowledge the unique needs and experiences of survivors of homicide victims with an awareness month.

WHEN:  November 21 – Opening Ceremony at the State House from 9:30am-12pm will be hosted by Senator Linda Dorcena-Forry with speakers including Attorney General Maura Healey and Liam Lowney of the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance. Awards will also be given to survivors who have informed, influenced, and impacted public policy.

December 3 – Massachusetts Survivors of Homicide Victims Network inaugural convening at Lombardo’s from 12-4pm. This gathering will focus on building the momentum of the survivor’s movement for more peaceful communities.

December 19 – Homicide Response Briefing for Law Enforcement from 8-11:30 am at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute with presenters including Boston Police Commissioner William Evans and Chairman of the Joint Committee of Public Safety and Homeland Security Representative Harold Naughton. Over 40 survivor-serving organizations will be on site to make connections and share resources with law enforcement officers. 

December 20 – Closing Ceremony at Roxbury Presbyterian Church from 9:30am-12pm with speakers including survivors from across the state.