HOUSTON, TX – Lone Star Legal Aid’s Crime Victims Unit attorney Zelda Howell and social worker Ashleigh Cormier hosted the Justice for Crime Survivors presentation on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at the downtown Houston Police Department (HPD).

The presentation covered specific methods to approach and handle cases dealing with survivors of crime. After victimization, the individual will face many challenges. These life changing deprivations include physical health, psychological health, employment, and financial status. Understanding the victim and their situation by giving advice and suggesting helpful resources can influence the victim to open up and remain compliant with a sense of control.

Recognizing a victim’s needs is one of the first steps to approaching a case. Victim support helps the individual understand their options from a different perspective. Crime doesn’t always affect people in the same way; however, it is best to be prepared to listen and respond appropriately. The recovery process can be difficult and damaging in which crime victims suffer tremendous trauma that can be short or long-term. Providing proper support is not only necessary after the incident, but also throughout the legal process.

The majority of the training attendees were HPD’s Victim Service Unit Advocates who provide resources such as counseling, job assistance and shelter assistance. Their mission is to assist families of victims who are experiencing crime and trauma. The advocates also work closely with social service providers and agencies in the City of Houston who specialize in a variety of resources.

Some of the resources include:

  • Criminal justice support
  • Crime Victims Compensation
  • U Visa certification
  • Information and referral to service providers
  • Personal advocacy
  • Obtaining protective orders
  • Safety planning
  • On-site intervention

In order to have a better understanding of the aftermath of criminal victimization, we must be comprehensible to interpreting how the victim is feeling. This time is an emotional time for the victim who might feel lost and confused. Helping victims understand their emotions with proper training will teach advocates and future advocates on how to assist survivors of crime. 

If you witness a suspicious situation, call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 or report online at the TxAbuseHotline.org.

If you or a loved one are experiencing abuse and need assistance, self-help resources are available via www.TexasLawHelp.org.  If you or a loved one are in need of an attorney or would like to explore other resources Texas Elders can utilize if they are being abused, you can visit the Texas Crime Victim Legal Assistance Network.

Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves the millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at www.lonestarlegal.org.

Media contact: Clarissa Ayala, cayala@lonestarlegal.org.