Victims of terrorism must focus on the immediate medical, mental health, family, housing, and other needs for themselves and their loved ones. Many victims and their families are not aware of resources available to them. A critical component of ITVERP includes ongoing outreach to inform victims of international terrorist incidents and their families of the assistance this program offers. Outreach activities are focused on two primary groups: potential claimants, and collaborating agencies and organizations that may have contact with potential claimants. This section details the outreach efforts that took place during this reporting period and provides information on the ITVERP Resource Center.
ITVERP outreach efforts focus on victims of international acts of terrorism and their family members who may be eligible for reimbursement under the program. OVC coordinates with the Office for Victim Assistance (OVA) in the Federal Office of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to identify potential claimants. When terrorist incidents occur outside the United States and involve U.S. citizens, DOS is the first to respond, locating and identifying the victims. DOS coordinates and communicates with OVA, which provides immediate and ongoing victim assistance support to victims and their families. Where appropriate, OVA identifies ITVERP as a potential resource and provides victims or their family members with program information. For the victims and family members who choose to apply, ITVERP determines eligibility.
Interagency coordination enhances ITVERP’s outreach efforts and gives potential claimants access to needed resources. During this reporting period, OVC, OVA, and DOS coordinated efforts to identify and reach out to 298 potential claimants. With materials provided by OVC, OVA was able to disseminate ITVERP information in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist incident in Frankfurt, Germany, on March 2, 2011.
Another goal of OVC’s outreach efforts is to educate the victim assistance community, including collaborating agencies and potential partners, about ITVERP. By reaching out to national and international organizations, and individuals that may come into contact with victims of international terrorism, OVC increases awareness about ITVERP and the resources available.
A change to the ITVERP regulation, effective April 11, 2011, allowed the OVC Director discretion in extending the filing of ITVERP applications under certain circumstances. During this reporting period, OVC coordinated with the victim witness coordinator in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York in an effort to expand outreach efforts to victims of international terrorist attacks involved in U.S. federal court cases that may not be aware of the program. In August 2011, OVC identified methods of conducting targeted outreach to entities such as the Peace Corps, universities that facilitate study abroad programs, U.S. contractors and companies working abroad, Embassies, and various conferences in which OVC regularly participates.
The ITVERP Resource Center responds to questions and requests made through its dedicated toll free hotline and e-mail address. Program staff are available to respond to inquiries Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. eastern time. Federal, state, and local government agency staff contact the Resource Center to obtain information regarding the program’s rules and eligibility on behalf of specific victims, and to provide information about potential claimants and particular terrorist incidents that might qualify for ITVERP reimbursement. Similarly, nongovernmental organizations contact the ITVERP Resource Center to obtain information about the program to include in their own outreach efforts.
All congressional inquiries received by OVC are promptly directed to OJP’s Office of Communications. During the reporting period, OVC received no written inquiries from congressional offices requesting information on specific ITVERP claims submitted by their constituents.
Claimants and potential applicants can obtain information about the program, including eligibility criteria, reimbursable expenses, and instructions for filing an application, through the ITVERP Web page. Potential claimants can download the application for reimbursement, checklists, and supporting documents directly from the site, which also provides a list of answers to frequently asked questions to assist with the application process. During the reporting period, OVC enhanced the page to include an updated list of NSD-designated terrorist incidents.