Help for Crime Victims
Domestic Terrorism and Mass Violence
Seeking Crisis Counseling
You may contact the Disaster Distress Helpline, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling. This toll free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone 800–985–5990 (for Spanish, press 2) and SMS (text 'TalkWithUs', or for Spanish, text 'Hablanos', to 66746) to residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or man-made disasters.
Seeking Information About the Investigation
The Terrorism and Special Jurisdictions Program
(TSJP) in the Office for Victim Assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) manages the FBI’s operational victim assistance response to terrorist attacks inside the United States, criminal transportation disasters, and other mass casualty crimes. The TSJP consists of a highly specialized team of clinical and medical social workers, a forensic/mortuary affairs family liaison, and an operational psychologist with expertise in hostage victim recovery and reintegration. The Victim Assistance Rapid Deployment Team, consisting of experienced and skilled FBI victim specialists from across the country, is used to expand the capacity to support victims and operations in the aftermath of a terrorist or other mass casualty crime. Visit the FBI’s Office for Victim Assistance Web page
for more information about the Federal and Special Jurisdictions Program.
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Seeking Information About the Criminal Justice Process
During the investigation and prosecution of acts of domestic terrorism and mass violence, victim-witness personnel in the Nation’s U.S. Attorneys’ offices will make sure that federal crime victims are given the opportunity to receive information and services as required under federal law and the Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance. For information about your rights and case information, contact the victim-witness personnel in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the district where the prosecution is pending. If you have already been contacted by a victim-witness coordinator, you should direct all correspondence to that individual.
Seeking Victim Compensation
All states receive federal funds from OVC to help them support local victim assistance and victim compensation programs. In the aftermath of an act of terrorism or mass violence, you may be eligible for crime victim compensation benefits such as reimbursement for the cost of medical services, mental health counseling, lost wages, and other expenses incurred as a result of the crime. Victim compensation benefits are governed by applicable state statutes, so eligibility may vary among states. Contact the compensation program located in the state where the crime occurred for more information about eligibility and the application process.
Visit the OVC’s map of state programs, and click on the state in which the crime occurred to find contact information for the program you need.
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Seeking Additional Information and Resources
We at OVC will never understand the depths of your despair, but we have compiled the following list of programs and publications that may help you understand and manage your reactions to terrorism and mass violence.
The Dougy Center
This organization focuses on grief support groups for children and teens from 3 to 18 years old, and their families, who are grieving the death of a parent, sibling, or friend. Through the center’s website, you can access a database of centers throughout the country that provide grief support and services. The center also provides educational materials about children and grief.
National Organization of Parents Of Murdered Children (POMC)
POMC is a national self-help organization for the families and friends of children who have been murdered. POMC provides the ongoing emotional support and promotes healthy grief resolution that parents and other survivors need to build a "new life" after experiencing a child’s murder.
National Center for Trauma Informed Care
Operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, this center provides training for policymakers, administrators, staff, leaders, peers, and individuals who have experienced traumatic events in order to implement trauma-informed approaches in a range of service systems, including mental health, criminal justice, and victim assistance.
This OVC-funded service offers confidential assistance to victims of crime. Trained specialists are available to help you locate services in your area, including mental health counseling, legal services, and more. VictimConnect employs both English and Spanish-speaking victim assistance specialists. Following is contact information for this program:
Phone: 855–4–VICTIM (855–484–2846), 8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. e.t.
Chat: http://victimconnect.org/get-help/victimconnect-chat, 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. e.t.
Dial 711 and VictimConnect staff can provide services through an interpreter in more than
200 languages, and to hearing- and speech-impaired individuals.
Coping With Grief After a Disaster or Traumatic Event
This resource provides tips for coping with the grieving process.
Coping After Terrorism for Injured Survivors
This handbook is intended to help victims understand reactions to acts of terrorism and mass violence. It also offers tips for helping victims with the coping with grieving process.
Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters: What Parents Can Do
This booklet describes what parents can do to help children and adolescents cope with violence and disasters.
If You're a Victim of Crime, Help is Available
This OVC video recognizes that being a victim of a crime can be a devastating experience for survivors and their families, describes the help that is available for victims of crime, and identifies certain victims' rights that are guaranteed in most states.
OVC Handbook for Coping After Terrorism: A Guide to Healing and Recovery
This handbook provides victims of terrorism with information about how they may feel or react. It is based on the expertise of mental health, crisis counseling, and victim assistance professionals.
OVC Help Series for Crime Victims: Homicide
The OVC HELP Series of brochures is a resource for victims of crime and the victim service providers that work with them every day. Each brochure defines a type of victimization, discusses what to do if you are the victim of this crime, and provides national resources for more information and where to go for help.
Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Other Traumatic Event: Managing Stress
This tip sheet gives stress prevention and management tips for dealing with the effects of trauma, mass violence, or terrorism. This tip sheet is also available in Spanish and Punjabi.
Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event: A Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers
This fact sheet helps parents and teachers to recognize common reactions children of different age groups (preschool, early childhood, adolescence) experience after a disaster or traumatic event. It also offers tips on how to respond to children and adolescents in a helpful way, and when to seek support. This fact sheet is also available in Spanish.
What You Can Do If You Are a Victim of Crime
This brochure highlights victims’ rights and compensation and assistance programs as well as listing national organizations that will help victims to find information or obtain referrals.
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PUBLICATIONS FROM THE NATIONAL CHILD TRAUMATIC STRESS NETWORK
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) provides a series of resources that may assist parents, school personnel, pediatric care providers, and others when speaking with youth and teens, including:
The NCTSN also has resources for responders on Psychological First Aid (PFA). PFA is an early intervention to support children, adolescents, adults, and families impacted by these types of events.
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