National Crime Victim’s Rights Week was recognized in 1981. Each year a week in April is set aside for promoting victim’s rights, recognizing crime victims and honoring those who assist them.
This year April 22-28 is designated as National Crime Victim’s Rights week.
Parents of Murdered Children (POMC), is a national organization based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Their mission is to assist families of murdered children through a network of local chapters. Maryland has one chapter, Upper Chesapeake Bay Chapter. They meet the last Monday of each month in Elkton, MD at a local Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) who donates use of a meeting room for the monthly POMC meetings.
“POMC membership is open to those who have been cruelly bereaved by the murder of a loved one although professionals who are in frequent contact with grieving families are also welcome to join,” according to their web site.
Upper Chesapeake Bay Chapter held their annual memorial service Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at the court house in Elkton, MD. While it was a solemn occasion, many of the families recognized each other from prior services and chatted about their common bond; the loss of a loved one.
A favorite gathering place was the Angel Wall, titled Their Light Still Shines. One family who wanted their name withheld tearfully said, “I know he is in heaven,” of her deceased loved one whose photo and name was on the wall.
Lynn Jones is Chapter Leader. Her son Ross was murdered by three neighboring teens April 2, 2005.
“The three teens attacked Ross three days before they broke into their home and shot Ross in his head,” Lynn said. My husband Dan and I were away on vacation. He came home Sunday because he had to go back to work on Monday. He found our son lying on the kitchen floor of our house.
“They knew each other, they knew he was home alone, Lynn said.
“Two of the offenders were sentenced to 50 years in jail, the other 25 because he was willing to talk and told authorities what happened,” she stated.
Lynn started Upper Chesapeake Bay Chapter in September 2010 after talking with a woman who had lost a son about 20 years earlier. Lynn said after talking with this survivor she realized she was not alone in her grief, and it was ok to grieve.
“I wanted to give back for the help and understanding that was given to me, so I started the Chapter. It has been work, but I get more out of it than I give,” Lynn said.
POMC requires a new chapter leader attend a training session at their Cincinnati, Ohio home office. Then the new chapter must meet criteria during a probationary period before becoming a fully accredited chapter. Upper Chesapeake Bay Chapter received accreditation in March 2012.
More information is available about crime victim assistance from The Office for Victims of Crime is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw/