CHICAGO (CBS) — The McHenry County state’s attorney’s office is reaching out to families who have lost a loved one to crime.

It is forming a support group for victims’ families, whether the person was murdered, hit by a car, died of a drug overdose or through other violent means.

State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally says victims’ families came to him and his victim-witness coordinator to suggest the support group.

“There’s still a struggle. There’s still pain that they feel,” Kenneally said. “They were wondering if, in an effort to bear their own grief, and an effort to bear their own pain, whether they could have contact with other victims who have similar and shared experiences so they could shoulder that pain together.”

The facilitator will be Jen Ahrens, a retired police officer who has advocated for victims’ families for years and who just earned a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.

The crime need not have occurred in McHenry County in order for someone to participate. The first meeting is April 6 at the McHenry County Metal Health Board facility in Crystal Lake.

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