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Crime survivors gather to call for legislative change to help families

Posted at 7:11 PM, Mar 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-21 19:11:35-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) — Hundreds gathered to march to the Florida Capitol to call for more resources for families of victims of crime.

This was a part of the Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice annual Survivors Speak event.

Long-time Tallahassee resident Doris Strong attended the event and said this organization helped her find a new purpose.

"My father wasn't the aggressive one. It was by my step-brother," Strong said. "When I heard about Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, that was my opportunity to turn my pain into purpose."

Strong lost her father when her step-brother murdered him in 2013.

"Through this journey, it has really helped me a lot. And being able to share my stories, with someone else and knowing I am not alone. And then, to be able to come here every year."

The purpose of the rally is to push for House Bill 233 and other legislation to give more resources to family members of crime victims, like allowing leave from work due to a loved-one being violently killed even if their paid time off has run out and allowing families access to more information on homicide cases involving minors.

Something that Tiffany Zachery said is needed in Tallahassee.

She lost her son in 2019.

"It's been a lot of killings, a lot of abuse, a lot of hurt," Zachery said. "I just feel like the Lord gives us one step, so why not take an inch."

Along with leave and more information, Strong said families and survivors need other resources, like counseling and crime prevention programs, as well.

"With my father's case, my step-brother, he didn't get the services he needed. So, the system failed him. He went through trauma, and as a matter of fact, he was shot when he was young, and so he went through a lot of trauma," Strong said. "The system failed and he didn't get the services he needed."