Help for Crime Victims
Seeking Emergency Assistance
The Office of Overseas Citizens Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State, is committed to assisting American citizens who become victims of crime while traveling, working, or residing abroad. Consular duty personnel are available for emergency assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at embassies, consulates, and consular agencies overseas and in Washington, D.C. To contact the Office of Overseas Citizens Services, call—
- 1–888–407–4747, from the United States, or
- 1–202–501–4444, from abroad.
Seeking Information About the Investigation
The Terrorism and Special Jurisdictions Program, in the Office for Victim Assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), manages the FBI’s operational victim assistance response to terrorist attacks outside the United States, criminal transportation disasters, and other mass casualty crimes. This program 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 Foreign Criminal Justice Process
The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OVT) assists U.S. citizens who have suffered direct physical, emotional or financial harm due to an act of violence committed overseas for terroristic purposes under U.S. law. OVT advocates for U.S. victims and their families to obtain information, be present during foreign terrorism prosecutions, and have a voice during the proceedings, as permitted by foreign law. OVT further provides policy advocacy on overseas terrorism victims’ issues both within the U.S. Government and throughout the world.
If you or a family member has been a victim of a terrorist attack occurring outside the United States and have questions about the foreign criminal justice process, contact OVT at 202–233–0701 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also visit the OVT website to learn more about the office, programs, services, and information for victims of overseas terrorism in the Victim Toolbox.
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If you are a U.S. citizen who has suffered direct physical or emotional injury from an act of terrorism occurring outside the United States, or a family member of a U.S. citizen who was killed by such an act, you may be eligible to apply for financial reimbursement for qualifying expenses through the International Terrorism Victim Expense Reimbursement Program (ITVERP). The main eligibility requirements are as follows—
- The international act of terrorism must have occurred outside the United States and must have been designated by the National Security Division, U.S. Department of Justice, as an act of international terrorism for purposes of the ITVERP. Determine if the incident during which you were injured is a designated incident.
- A person must be a U.S. citizen, or an officer or employee of the U.S. government, at the time of the incident.
- The out-of-pocket expenses must be directly related to the terrorist incident.
If you meet the above requirements, visit the ITVERP Web pages for further details on who is eligible, what expenses are covered, and how to apply.
Please know that lost wages are not considered a qualifying expense through ITVERP. However, all states receive federal funds from OVC to support local victim assistance and victim compensation programs. In the aftermath of an act of terrorism or mass violence occurring outside the United States, some states offer U.S. citizens crime victim compensation benefits for lost wages incurred as a result of the crime.
Victim compensation benefits are governed by the applicable state statutes, so eligibility may vary among states. Contact the compensation program in your state for more information about eligibility and the application process. To find the victim compensation program you need, go to OVC’s map of state programs and click on the state in which the crime occurred.
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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 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.
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 Community Members Can Do
This booklet describes what community members can do to help children and adolescents cope with violence and disasters.
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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