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Where human needs and government intersect. The Division of Community Services promotes ongoing economic security and independence for the people of Shelby County. We do this by promoting, coordinating and delivering services that address the underlying conditions for well-being and justice. We strive to be a highly organized team and partner, dedicated to promoting a strong community where all people are able to reach their full potential.

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Dec 23

Holiday Counseling for Homicide Survivors

Posted on December 23, 2019 at 10:28 AM by Janet Lo

2019-12 CVRCC homicide counselingCrime Victims & Rape Crisis Center
Holiday Counseling for Homicide Survivors
The holiday season can be difficult, especially if you've lost a loved one to violence. There have been 168 homicides in Memphis so far this year, Fox 13 reports. The Shelby County Crime Victims & Rape Crisis Center held holiday counseling for families of homicide victims and has other counseling programs all year-long. 

  Fox 13 was there with Aqueelah Hyman-Matthews who lost her 19-year-old son, Dominick Hull, in June. He was murdered in a triple shooting. Hull was one of 11 kids and left his big family with a big hole this holiday season.

  "He was the joy of the family, always smiling… we actually got Dominick cremated so some will go to the mantle and talk with him. Every morning I ask if they visited him, and they'll say they saw him in a dream, so they're trying to cope as best as they know how," said Matthews. 

  Recently, she found support at the crisis center. Here, she's surrounded by other homicide survivors like Tiffany Armstrong who now works at the center.

"Being that shoulder, just being that listening ear for them to vent, it’s just heartwarming and it helps me through my journey," said Armstrong.

  During the holiday themed counseling sessions, families made journals, ornaments and even keepsake pillows with loves ones' pictures on them.

  Matthews said she decorated a small Christmas tree in Dominick's honor. "To help me cope because I'm used to buying all the kids’ gifts, I'm going to purchase a small gift and place it under the tree and let the kids unwrap it for him… He loves mustangs, so I'm going to get him a small toy car," said Matthews.

  Holiday drop-in counseling has ended but the center offers free counseling all year. And, starting in January, the center is offering group sessions for teens who are homicide survivors.