U.S. Crime Victims Often Don’t Get the Government Money Meant to Help Them Heal—and Say They Feel ‘Excluded’

Aswad Thomas’ dream of pursuing a career in basketball was disrupted about a decade ago when he was shot twice in the back during an attempted armed robbery in Connecticut. In the following years, Thomas—like many other victims of violent crime—didn’t know that Congress had set aside money and resources for his recovery decades ago.

Had Thomas known, the 37-year-old says he would have been better able to deal with the injury as well as his PTSD by tapping into counseling services, physical therapy and relocation support. “I was shot just blocks away from where I live so the fear of going outside was something I struggled with for years,” Thomas says. “I would have loved physical therapy to help me get back on my feet and see if I could continue my basketball career.”

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