Help for Survivors of Homicide Victims

Garden of Peace

The crime of homicide leaves many victims in its wake. As a former homicide prosecutor, District Attorney Conley recognizes that the friends, family members, and other loved ones left behind are victims, too. Parents, children, siblings, spouses, and others often struggle with a range of questions and emotions as they navigate a complex legal system – all while grieving their loss. The prosecutors, victim advocates, and investigators assigned to the DA’s Homicide Unit understand the feelings of trauma and isolation that many survivors experience as a result of homicide.

The Suffolk DA’s Homicide Unit, together with local and State police, investigates all unattended deaths and prosecutes homicides in Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop. An assistant district attorney and victim witness advocate from the unit is assigned to every homicide case, regardless of whether the case is solved or unsolved. That means that survivors of homicide victims can expect to hear from a victim witness advocate who will make them aware of the services we offer and the services of outside agencies.

The victim witness advocates assigned to families of homicide victims are our most experienced staff members with extensive, specialized training. Their responsibilities include working with families to assess their individual needs following a violent crime, helping them with any issues they may have, and educating them about the court process.

They notify family members in advance of upcoming court dates and are present with them to support them through the difficult experience of attending an arraignment, trial or sentencing hearing. Advocates work with families from the beginning of a case until all court proceedings are concluded, an often lengthy process that can take several years after the initial tragedy.

Garden of Peace Memorial Stones

Memorial stones in the Garden of Peace.

Our Services to Survivors of Homicide Include:

  • Victim of Violent Crime Application Assistance
    One of our advocates can assist you navigate the Victim of Violent Crime Compensation process and answer questions you may have.  Please feel free to contact us with any compensation or benefit questions you may have.
  • Crisis Intervention and Therapy Referrals
    We can help you review your options and locate a mental health service or support group to meet your needs.
  • Court Notification
    We will notify you of every court date in your loved one’s case.
  • Bail Notification Services
    Our victim witness advocates offer Bail Notification Services for family members wenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Education about the Criminal Justice System/Your rights under the Victim Bill of Rights
    The court system can be an intimidating and frustrating experience for any family. Our advocacy staff will make sure that your rights under the Victim Bill of Rights (MGL, ch. 258B) are respected and you understand the court process.
  • Trial Preparation/In Court Advocacy and Support
    We will help prepare you for the trial process or any witness testimony.  Advocates are present in court to offer support at every court date.
  • Victim Impact Statement Preparation
    Under the Victim Bill of Rights, survivors of homicide victims have the right to be heard at sentencing hearings. Through an oral or written statement, family members are encouraged to tell the court how your loved one’s death has affected your life. Our victim witness advocates will work with you to prepare a statement that is appropriate and meaningful. Please review these guidelines before composing an impact statement in English or Spanish.
  • Post Sentencing Issues
    We will assist you with your application for Notice of an Offender’s Release form, CORI certification, making contact with the Parole Board, and will keep you updated on the status of an appeal.