Since the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, states and communities around the Nation have been aware of the need to prepare for incidents of mass violence and terrorism. Through advanced planning, states and communities can establish partnerships to help ensure that victims receive the services they need. The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) hopes that this toolkit will provide victim service providers with the framework, strategies, and resources to conduct planning and preparation ahead of an incident and to mitigate the impact of future acts on victims.
The challenges surrounding mass violence incidents require a comprehensive approach on the part of professionals who plan for and respond to these events. Federal, state, and city government officials, state Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) administrators, emergency management staff, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and health care providers all work cooperatively within communities to develop emergency response plans. We hope that these groups and allied organizations will use this interdisciplinary mass violence toolkit and accompanying materials to develop victim assistance plans. Ideally, every state and community should prepare a victim assistance planand incorporate it into an established emergency response planto ensure that response to and recovery from events of mass violence have procedures established for serving victims and addressing their needs comprehensively.
OVC would like to thank the many states and communities around the country for their substantial contributions to this toolkit as well as the numerous organizations that permitted their talented staff to provide input at our stakeholder forums. Your voices were heard and your thoughts were incorporated into the toolkit to ensure we had the most comprehensive understanding of the issues you faced.
No community will ever be fully prepared for the devastation of mass violence. By working with those who have experienced these terrible events, and through various groups’ analyses of these tragic circumstances, we have produced this toolkit to make efforts to prevent, respond, and recover as effective as they can be for victims. Together, we can help states and communities prepare for the worst and, in the aftermath of devastation, provide individuals the services they need as they heal.
Joye E. Frost
Office for Victims of Crime