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Survivors' Weekend: Supporting Those Left Behind

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 77 Issue: 12 Dated: December 2008 Pages: 1-6
Kenneth J. Doka Ph.D.; Abe Doney; Donald Gleason; Rachael Mincher
Date Published
December 2008
6 pages
This article describes Survivors’ Weekend, an innovative program for survivors of New York State troopers killed in the line of duty.
Survivors’ Weekend offers an innovative model of a way to provide ongoing peer and professional support to family members of officers killed in the line of duty. The program’s structure supports three major goals. First, it provides ongoing grief education and assistance. Second, it provides and models the ways that rituals and memorials can both honor the deceased and offer therapeutic benefits to survivors. The final goal is to create a sense of shared support and camaraderie among the survivors. In addition to its high evaluative marks from participants, Survivors’ Weekend has led to the development of peer networks and strengthened ties between survivors, their Employee Assistance Program (EAP) coordinators, and support groups. It has also helped the EAP develop an extensive network of bereavement professionals they can use for consultation and referral. The concept for Survivors’ Weekend arose when the EAP director and a chaplain planned to create a mechanism to honor troopers who died in the line of duty and offer group support for surviving family members. Support for the concept was secured with the New York State Police and the first Survivors’ Weekend occurred in 1995. It has now become an annual occurrence. 12 notes