A Lot Of Texas Crime Survivors Rally For Safety At Capitol

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hundreds of crime survivors and the families of crime victims rallied at the Texas Capitol Thursday afternoon to advocate for increased victim support and reforms that are meant to break the cycle of crime.

“Communities most harmed by violence need support to heal and feel safe again,” said Terra Tucker, the Texas director for the Alliance for Safety and Justice.

The crowd – which included survivors of sexual assault and family and gun violence, as well as parents of children lost to violence – gathered in the Capitol rotunda.

Aswad Thomas, vice president of Alliance for Safety and Justice and the national director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, spoke at the event.

We are here to “ensure our voices are at the center of public safety policies,” said Thomas, a survivor of gun violence himself.

What the group is calling for

Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice are demanding lawmakers fund the state’s first trauma recovery center. Some of these centers are operational across the country, and the group said it is a proven model to help victims heal in the wake of a crime.

“That’s why hundreds of Texas crime survivors will rally at the Capitol today and urge elected officials to invest in solutions that prioritize recovery as well as redemption to improve our collective safety,” Tucker said.

The group is also calling on lawmakers to tackle the root causes of crime. It is demanding the improvement of the state’s probation system and support record sealing for low-level criminals so they can get a job, and not fall back into a life of crime.

In addition, the group is advocating for legislation that would expand access to, and funds available from, the Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund.

Crime Victims’ Compensation

The Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund is operated by the Office of the Attorney General. It’s intended to provide money to help rebuild crime victims’ lives. The funds can be used to help relocate, pay hospital bills and recoup lost wages, among many other things. KXAN found the division administering the fund has a high turnover and vacancies and has struggled to get funds out quickly, according to internal records obtained by KXAN and interviews with multiple staff members.