Holidays and anniversaries can be difficult times for those directly affected by crime. For survivors different events, traditions, smells, tastes, dates, or times can trigger both positive and negative memories that may feel overwhelming. Often Holidays and anniversaries can be extremely distressing. Many people find that holidays and anniversaries “trigger” renewed sorrow, evoke painful memories, create additional stress, and heighten any sense of loss. Any and all feelings that you have surrounding holidays and anniversaries are normal, and each person responds differently.
YOUR HOLIDAY, YOUR WAY
There is no right or wrong ways to recognize and celebrate holidays and anniversaries. The best way to approach a holiday is to find ways to make it personally meaningful while acknowledging events, feelings, and circumstances this year. It may be helpful beforehand to think about what will make the holidays easier and better for you and what might make them harder.
- Choose to celebrate or not.
- Determine your capacity for being around people.
- Select your companions carefully.
- Spend time with those you find helpful, supportive, understanding, patient, and caring.
- Celebrate in ways that are meaningful and helpful.
- Don’t feel obligated to send gifts or cards.
- Maintain existing family traditions and/or create new ones.
- Take care of yourself. Plan for the holidays with family members or friends. Those close to you can help you cope. Include children in discussions about how the family should celebrate this year. Discuss what traditions to follow and what new ones to create. ALL REACTIONS ARE NORMAL REACTIONS Complicated emotional responses are common and natural. It is normal to experience anger, resentment, guilt, and other negative responses. Don’t con-ceal your feelings to protect other adults, but strive to be sensitive to children’s needs. Bereaved family members should not be pressured to participate in un-wanted extended family rituals. You don’t have to participate in all (or any) activities. Seek professional help if needed. If you are concerned about burdening family and friends, or feel overwhelmed by their feelings or your own, you might find it helpful to speak to a professional like a grief counselor, religious leader, family doctor, or therapist.
The 2017 Tree of Honor and Remembrance Ceremony is just around the corner, and you’re invited to attend. Join us as we gather to honor and remember those whose lives have been effected by violent crimes. The tradition began in 1995 and has grown to embrace crime victims, survivors, advocates, families and friends throughout Oklahoma.
If you wish, please bring a small non-breakable ornament to hang on the tree in honor or support of a crime victim. Ornaments may also be mailed for placement on tree. Please include the name of honoree and date of crime/or date of death. Please mail or deliver ornaments to us before November 22nd.
Send Ornaments to:
District Attorneys Council
Victim Services Division
421 N.W. 13th Street, Suite 290
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
This memorable tradition began in Texas by a victim advocate. Vena Lee Carr, State Director of People Against Violent Crime (PAVC), was working as a volunteer when it became obvious to her that the holiday season was especially difficult for victims, survivors and their families.
PAVC wanted to do something very special for victims, survivors and their families to assist them through the holiday season. So PAVC began the tradition of having a statewide “Tree of Angels” ceremony. The ceremony offered victims the opportunity to bring their angel ornaments to be placed on a special Christmas tree in the hope that the blessings of the holiday season would comfort them in the warm spirit it represents.
In 1995, following Texas’ example, Oklahoma started its own tradition — The Tree of Honor and Remembrance — to remember and acknowledge those whose lives have been effected by violent crime. This very special holiday display has been adorned with ornaments provided by crime victims, survivors and their families from around the state. These trees are dedicated to all violent crime victims, survivors, advocates and supporters no matter the circumstances.
It is our hope that the Tree of Honor and Remembrance allows us to remember, include and support victims of violent crime. These innocent victims of crime are a part of our lives and a part of the community.
The Tree of Honor and Remembrance tradition has become an inherent part of the victims and survivors holiday.
Since its beginning in 1995, one tree of honor has grown into several trees and over 1,400 ornaments. This holiday tradition now embraces crime victims, survivors, advocates, families and friends throughout Oklahoma.
The Crime Victims’ Compensation Program was created in 1981 with the passage of the Crime Victims’ Compensation Act. The purpose of the Crime Victims Compensation Act is to provide a method of compensation for victims of violent crimes. All funds come from federal and state offenders through fines and penalty assessments. An arrest of the offender does NOT have to take place in order to be eligible to file a claim; however, the victim and/or claimant is expected to fully cooperate in the apprehension, investigation, and prosecution of the perpetrator. The claimant is also expected to fully cooperate with the District Attorney’s Office and Victims Compensation Board staff during the processing of the claim.
The program’s ability to provide financial assistance to crime victims is directly related to the health of the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund. Through a partnership that includes the Legislature, the Courts, the District Attorneys Council, individual elected District Attorneys, crime victims, and crime victim advocates, revenues to the fund are sufficient to meet the ongoing financial needs of victims at this time. For more funding information and sources.
By working with the Legislature to put victims first, and by remaining true to the statute that created this Fund, success and stability has been achieved. While the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program is proud of its past and the productivity it has achieved, we are committed to making every effort to ensure that victims continue to receive all possible assistance from this program, as defined by statute. We encourage staff to find creative and simple ways to reduce their workload by using technology. We work closely with those receiving grants from the Victims of Crime Act fund to ensure that helping crime victims obtain compensation is given high priority. We are confident about our future, and committed to enhancing the level of service that people have come to expect from the Crime Victims Compensation Program and the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council.