Virginia Beach to Open Recovery Services Center for Mass Shooting Victims
The center will serve mass shooting victims and their families, first responders and others affected by the Virginia Beach Municipal Shooting.
The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services has allocated a $3 million, three-year grant to the city of Virginia Beach for recovery and support from the May 31st mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center where 12 people were killed and four others were injured, according to Wavy.com.
Mass shooting survivors fare better over the long-term with access to mental health support and community connections. Survivors experience "ongoing mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and substance abuse," according to a 2018 article on the the American Psychological Association website. Further, the National Center for PTSD estimates that 28 percent of people who have witnessed a mass shooting develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and about a third develop acute stress disorder.
According to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital President Elwood Boone the VB Strong Center will have at least 12 employees and a director. The center will refer mass shooting survivors, victim’s families, hospital staff, city workers and first responders affected to services and also provide long-term resources, such as:
- 24/7 crisis hotline for mass shooting victims
- case management
- care navigation of community resources for rehabilitation
The state's VOCA Victims' Service Grant Program funding is derived from federal Victims of Crime Act funding, which provided $34 billion nationwide in 2018.
Sentara Healthcare will be operating the center through a partnership with the city. The city is hoping to have the "VB Strong Center" open in October, said Julie Hill, a city spokeswoman.
The U.S. Department of Justice offers victim services grant funding through invitation to communities affected by terrorism and mass shootings. More information is available on the Office for Victims of Crimes website.