Gulf Coast Women's Center For
Nonviolence

image of hands holding a candle

Survivors of Homicide Victims

The families and friends of homicide victims experience a sudden traumatic, life changing loss. Homicide is not a normal death. A loved one has been taken and you, the survivor, must reorganize your life around this void. This loss may extend into your practical, financial, emotional, social, and religious worlds. You may not only lose a loved one, but also your sense of being part of a community, a system of civic relationships, and a just universe. Peace of mind is your greatest loss.

You don't have to grieve alone. Our Center offers services to assist you through your grief and offer a supportive community of others who understand your loss.

All victim services are free of charge and completely confidential.

  • Individual Counseling
  • Forever Changed (Survivors of Homicide Support Group)
  • Court Support/Advocacy
  • Victim Compensation Application Assistance
  • Remembrance Events
  • Information and Referral
Read More About Our Services

Our Condolences

If you are visiting this web site as the survivor of a homicide victim, please accept our condolences upon the death of your loved one. Coping with violent death is always difficult. It is a loss beyond comprehension or reason, and our hearts go out to you and your family.

You may be experiencing physical symptoms of pain such as tightness in the chest or throat, weakness in muscles, sighing, great sensitivity or crying endlessly. You may feel shock or numbness, sadness or anger, guilt, anxiety, fear, or helplessness. You may have sleep disturbances, absent-mindedness, social withdrawal, painful dreams, avoidance, or many other behavioral symptoms of grief. Denial, confusion, and hallucinations may make you feel that you are going crazy. Remember: You are a normal person having a normal response to a traumatic event. You will find a new “normal”. But, you have been "forever changed."

The Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Nonviolence, Survivors of Homicide Victims' Program, is here to assist you and members of your family. Forever Changed is open to anyone enduring the loss of a loved one to murder, manslaughter, motor vehicle homicide, act of war, or other violent death incident. There will be other survivors at the support group meetings to share your grief and pain as you walk this lonely road. Join hands with other survivors.

"Together we are stronger, together we are wiser, together we remember"

It would be an honor for us to hear about your challenges and adjustments to your tragic loss, and to talk about ways our agency might be able to assist you or your family. Should you decide to include us as part of your support system, all of our services are free of charge to you and your family. If you need us, or only want someone to talk with by phone, day or night, someone will be there. We have a 24 hour, 7 day a week, crisis line with a toll-free number available to you at 1-(800)-800-1396 or 228-435-1968.

Again, we offer our condolences in your sorrow.

Advocate, Survivors of Homicide Program,
Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Nonviolence

Murder is a violent crime. As a survivor of a homicide victim, you may experience some confusing reactions. Remember that you are a normal person having a normal response to a traumatic event.

You may experience physical, behavioral, cognitive, and emotional symptoms during your period of grief; all of these are normal when dealing with the loss of a loved one.

You may even experience symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, such as:

  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Fear of strangers
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Eating and sleeping disturbances
  • Constant intrusion of thoughts of the murder
  • Case-related associations
  • Irritability
  • Angry outbursts
  • Avoidance of reminders

Read more below about the phases of grief you may be experiencing.

Our Mission: To support and serve victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and family members of homicide victims, educate the community, and work to reduce incidences of violence.

Forever Changed Support Groups

The Forever Changed support group for survivors of homicide victims meets three times a month, once each in Pascagoula, Gulfport, and Wiggins. Men and women come together to share, care, and give support to others who have experienced the loss of a loved one from murder, manslaughter, motor vehicle homicide, or other violent death.

Gulfport
St. Joseph's Catholic Church
12290 Depew Rd., Gulfport, MS
Meets the second Thursday of each month at 6pm.

Pascagoula
Jackson County Chamber of Commerce
720 Krebs Ave., Pascagoula, MS
Meets the last Thursday of each month at 6pm.

Wiggins
Hampton Inn
1121 E. Frontage Rd., Wiggins, MS
Meets the third Tuesday of each month at 6pm.

photo of a pensive man in a support group meeting

The Four Phases of the Grief Process

Shock and Numbness - These characteristics may be most intense in the first two to four weeks after the death but may accelerate on the anniversary or other critical times in your life. Intense panic, distress, and anger may be directed at others. Functioning is impaired, decision-making is difficult, and concentration is limited.

Yearning and Searching - These characteristics may be most intense four to six months following the death. You may feel like you are "going crazy" due to your hearing, seeing, or sensing the deceased. These are normal reactions to loss.

Disorientation and Disorganization - You may feel disorganized, depressed, guilty, and unable to accomplish normal tasks. Physical symptoms of stress appear and suicidal ideation is most apparent at this time.

Resolution and Reorganization - You may feel a sense of release from the loss of the loved one. A renewed energy that can be confirmed by observers. An ability to make judgments and handle complex problems. A return to prior eating and sleeping habits.

Symptoms of Normal Grief

Physical

  • Tightness in the chest
  • Tightness in the throat
  • Oversensitivity
  • Depersonalization
  • Breathlessness
  • Weakness in the muscles
  • Lack of energy
  • Dry mouth
  • Hollowness in the stomach
  • Sighing
  • Treasuring objects

Emotional

  • Shock/numbness
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Guilt/Self-reproach
  • Anxiety
  • Loneliness
  • Helplessness
  • Yearning
  • Emancipation
  • Relief

Behavioral

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Appetite disturbances
  • Absentmindedness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Dreams of the deceased
  • Avoidance of reminders
  • Searching/calling out
  • Restless over-activity
  • Crying
  • Clinging to reminders

Cognitive

  • Disbelief/Denial
  • Confusion
  • Auditory & visual hallucinations
  • Preoccupation
  • Sense of presence