Those of us who have been touched by traffic violence will never be untouched by it. It is important, if you have lost a loved one to this type of violence, or if you are a survivor of it, that you take the time to care of yourself. You need not endure this pain and trauma alone. DC Families for Safe Streets is a unique group, in that we have all experienced the same type of trauma and/or loss. It is a bond that we may not have wished for, but one that we can draw strength, community, and understanding from.

Person places flowers on a memorial in front of the Wilson Building.
Photo by Aimee Custis

In the days, weeks, and months after the crash, the support of family and friends is invaluable. But it is important to realize that everyone experiences and lives their shock, grief, and subsequent feelings in different ways and on different timelines. Friends may not always be able to offer the continued and nuanced support and specific attention that is required for this type of loss and trauma. It manifests in physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual ways and every day is different.

For many people, the aftermath of losing a loved one, or being seriously injured, brings a sense of confusion, depression, anxiety, and hopelessness. Few people are prepared for what lies ahead, but you are not alone. In most circumstances, the initial feelings of loss and trauma occur simultaneously with dealing with the logistical and legal portions of this type of loss or injury. The sense of community and support that DC-FSS offers are specific to our unique circumstances. We cannot take away the pain, but we do hope to diminish the feelings of isolation, and lack of understanding that is felt in this moment.

Current Peer Support Services Available

Currently at DC-FSS, we are in the midst of creating our own in-person support group, but for now, we have suggested a few other options that may be helpful for you at this time.  They are listed below. Also, please feel free to join our DC-FSS Families and Survivors Support Group on Facebook. This is a closed group and is a safe space for those who have experienced or lost loved ones to traffic violence in our area.

Resources available in DC:

National resources:

  • Trauma Survivors Network (hosted by the American Trauma Society) helps trauma centers provide the support and services patients and their families need during their recovery from serious injury.
  • The Compassionate Friends is self-help organization offering friendship, understanding, and hope to bereaved families that have experienced the death of a child. Chapters in the Greater Washington Region include DC, Arlington, and Prince George’s County.

Please check back on this page for further information about the group events and support services that we plan to offer in the near future for DC-FSS members. Our aim is offer services and events that can help you find strength, community and resilience through understanding and support.

Please feel free to contact us, should you have specific needs or questions and we will do our best to offer assistance and support. We are here for you.

Logistical Assistance

The practical and legal issues following a crash can be overwhelming. This is unknown territory for most of us, and the process can be harrowing and intimidating. We are not attorneys, but we are here and can share the knowledge we have gained and refer you as needed. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or need assistance. There is no question that is too morose, small, or insignificant.

Please also feel free to refer to the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s What to Do After a Crash List. We plan to create our own list, but this is comprehensive and incredibly helpful for those in this difficult spot in the immediate days after the crash.

World Day of Remembrance

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is commemorated on the third Sunday of November each year, with the next event occurring on Sunday, November 21, 2021. The day provides a platform for road traffic victims and their families to:

  • Remember all people killed and seriously injured on the roads;
  • Acknowledge the crucial work of the emergency services;
  • Draw attention to the generally trivial legal response to culpable road deaths and injuries
  • Advocate for better support for road traffic victims and victim families;
  • Promote evidence-based actions to prevent and eventually stop further road traffic deaths and injuries

Read more about how we’ve commemorated World Day of Remembrance in Washington, DC and contact us if you’re interested in helping to plan future events.

Sermons for Safe Streets

Sadly, the epidemic of traffic crashes is one that unites us all. People of every faith, neighborhood, race, class, gender, age, ability and political affiliation are hit personally by this issue. In commemoration of World Day of Remembrance, Families for Safe Streets invite all faith leaders to use their pulpits, prayers and programming to remind communities that we are all part of the solution. Learn more and download the faith leader information kit.