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Victims’ Rights Week: ‘Find a way to heal’

Crime victims and survivors use stories of grief to help.

It was during this week — Victims’ Rights Week — eight years ago that Janet Connors said she received the news that one of her son’s alleged killers was acquitted.

“I don’t understand how the justice system works,” a still-frustrated Connors said during the Victims’ Rights event at the State House yesterday.

A crowd of nearly 200 people gathered to hear speakers who promoted legislation to improve victim and survivor services and urged survivors to make the decisions that work for their recovery.

“I know I had to make my own justice,” said Connors, who met with two men sentenced to prison in connection with the 2001 death of her 19-year-old son.

She fought to start a victim-offender dialogue with the men imprisoned for her son’s death, but yesterday urged other survivors in the crowd to find their own way to heal and cope.

“The problem of violence and quest for peace is bigger than my individual loss,” she said.
State leaders joined Connors in her urging of survivors and victims to fight for their rights.

“We should enable victims and survivors to make decisions,” said Erin Gaffney, director of the victim services unit for the state’s Department of Correction.

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