Office for Victims of Crime - Justice for Victims. Justice for All
Justice for Victims. Justice for All
Helping Victims of Mass Violence & Terrorism: Planning, Response, Recovery, and Resources

Tools

Compendium of Resources

Victim Services

Faith-Based Services

Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc.

The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc., provides education services to improve the quality of ministry and pastoral care offered by spiritual caregivers of all faiths.

Interreligious Relations and Collaboration

National Council of Churches
The National Council of Churches is available to consult with local groups, congregations, denominational bodies, and community organizations on interfaith relations concerns.

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Child and Dependent Care Services

Office of Child Care

Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The Office of Child Care provides low-income working families with access to affordable, high-quality early care and afterschool programs. Childcare becomes particularly critical in the event of a disaster or emergency. Recognizing this, the office provides a Web page detailing resources for disasters and emergencies. The office administers the Child Care and Development Fund and works with state, territory, and tribal governments to provide support for children and their families juggling work schedules and struggling to find childcare programs that will fit their needs and that will prepare children to succeed in school.

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Compassion Fatigue, Vicarious Trauma, and Stress Management

For Professionals: Vicarious Trauma

Wendt Center for Loss and Healing
This Web site describes vicarious trauma, its symptoms, and what you can do to manage and prevent it.

Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project

The Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project educates caregivers about self-care and helps organizations provide healthy, compassionate care to those they serve. Its Web site describes compassion fatigue, its symptoms, and steps to take to begin healing and also provides self-tests and links to related resources. Training materials, workbooks, and texts are offered through its parent organization, Healthy Caregiving.

Sidran Institute: Traumatic Stress Education & Advocacy

Sidran Institute offers information to empower survivors, educate loved ones, and support clinicians who may be experiencing traumatic stress. Its Web site links to training materials, resources for helpers and professionals (among others), a help desk, publications, audiovisual and assessment tools, and so forth.

International Critical Incident Stress Foundation

The International Critical Incident Stress Foundation offers training programs dealing with psychological trauma and critical incident stress management, maintains a 24-hour hotline to match up trained teams with emergency service personnel in need of their services, and provides links to various reference materials and articles. (Per an FBI review of May 2014, please note that Critical Incident Stress Management is not appropriate for use with victims or families of victims.)

U.S. Coast Guard’s Critical Incident Stress Management Program

This program provides services to minimize the potential for psychological injury to employees, Coast Guard members, and their family members who have been involved in or affected by a critical incident.

Caring for the Helpers: Worker Stress, Orientation, Screening, and Pre-Briefing

This online article written by a licensed clinical social worker discusses how disaster mental health workers should be mindful of their own issues of stress management and self-care. Topics include guidelines for mass casualty assignments, prebriefing (to prepare workers for what’s coming), defusing stress/debriefing/psychological first aid; daily maintenance, returning home, and long-term self-care.

Traumatic Stress, Self-Awareness, and Self-Care: Surviving the Stress That Comes From Helping Others Cope with Trauma

This online article written by a licensed clinical social worker describes types of stress and how reactions to stress can be modified by several factors. It lists three categories of reactions to traumatic stress: thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The article also discusses the basics of self-care, who is at risk for stress reactions, how serious stress reactions come about, and strategies for improving coping skills while on the job.

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

This Web site contains resources for mental health professionals who respond to victims in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) in Support of Special Agents and Other First Responders Responding to the Fort Hood Shooting: Summary and Recommendations

Strand et al. 2010. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health 12(3):151–160
This article summarizes the efforts of the critical incident peer support team that was deployed to provide critical incident stress management debriefings and one-on-one crisis intervention to Fort Hood investigators and their spouses. In addition to summarizing and discussing the results of the interventions, the article also provides recommendations.

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Credit Assistance

Credit Counseling Services, USA.gov

This Web site provides information on credit counseling services.

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Crisis Counseling

Managing Traumatic Stress: Coping With Terrorism

American Psychological Association
This article describes the reactions a person may experience following a terrorist attack and lists ways to cope with the trauma.

Disaster Mental Health

From David Baldwin’s award-winning Trauma Information Pages Web site, this page links to handouts and fact sheets on dealing with traumatic stress in various disaster situations, disaster-tracking Web sites and organizations, disaster mental health guides, emergency services, and more. Some terrorism-related links include the following:

Disaster Distress Helpline

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The Disaster Distress Helpline is the Nation’s first hotline dedicated to delivering disaster crisis counseling. The toll-free helpline operates 24/7 via telephone (800–985–5990) and SMS (text “TalkWithUs” to 66746) for U.S. residents who are experiencing psychological distress as a result of natural or manmade disasters or incidents of mass violence. Callers are connected to trained and caring professionals who provide confidential counseling, referrals, and other needed support services.

Treating Family Survivors of Mass Casualties: A CISM Family Crisis Intervention Approach

Flannery. 1999. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health 1(4):243–250
This article presents an approach to the needs of family survivors of mass casualty events. The methods can be applied by emergency responders in the field. Survivors may experience various stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, and depression; without help, their lives will become unduly restricted. Intervention methods include interviewing the survivors to mitigate negative consequences, gathering facts so the family can know what happened, fostering the expression of feelings, empowering the survivors to accept what has happened, restoring a network of attachments, and helping victims make some sense of what has befallen them.

Help For the Grieving

Association for Death Education and Counseling
This Web page includes links to resources for people coping with loss. Topics include children’s and adolescents’ grief; death of a child, friend, grandchild, grandparent, parent, sibling, and spouse or partner; cultural differences in mourning; the grief process; how to help someone who is grieving; natural disasters, terrorism, and war; and violence and traumatic death.

Violent Loss Resources

This Web site, an extension of the Survivors of Violent Loss Program in San Diego, is for those who work with or who are people who have lost a loved one through a violent death. The Support section lists coping tips, what not to say, and do’s and don’ts for family members, friends, and professionals.

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Emergency Assistance (Food, Clothing, Transportation, Housing)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

FEMA helps build, sustain, and improve the nation’s capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. Emergency assistance is available either to individuals and families or to states and units of local government, depending on the type of disaster declaration that is granted.

Goodwill Industries International, Inc.

Goodwill's mission is to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need to reach their full potential through learning and the power of work. The organization has a network of 165 independent, accredited, community-based Goodwill facilities in the United States and Canada that helps individuals by offering customized training and services for those who want to find a job, pursue a credential or degree, and strengthen their finances. Goodwill also sells donated goods and other household items in more than 2,700 stores and on the auction site, www.shopgoodwill.com. As a victim service, Goodwill Cares is a program that helps individuals and families who are in need of clothing, furniture, or other household items in certain instances. For example, the organization has partnered with other groups to help victims of natural disasters, such as tornados, and with Red Cross to aid victims of floods.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is one of the Nation’s largest federally recognized emergency disaster services agencies, providing relief to 1–2 million disaster survivors and first responders each year. Its family service programs help families and needy individuals with emergency food, housing, utility assistance, and other needs. Programs vary with local needs.

Feeding America

Feeding America’s food bank network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. Use the Food Bank Locator on its Web site to find local food banks.

Transportation Tips During An Emergency Incident

District of Columbia Department of Transportation
Although most of the material in this pamphlet is specific to Washington, D.C., it provides general advice on whether and how to evacuate and tips on creating a family emergency plan.

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Victims of International Terrorism

Resources for International Victims

This OVC Web page links to resources for foreign nationals and U.S. citizens victimized abroad and lists several international resources.

International Terrorism Victim Expense Reimbursement Program

OVC’s International Terrorism Victim Expense Reimbursement Program (ITVERP) reimburses eligible direct victims of designated acts of international terrorism that occur outside the United States for expenses associated with that victimization. Reimbursements cover expenses such as medical, mental health, property, funeral/burial, and miscellaneous costs. This Web site describes who is eligible, what is and is not covered, how to apply, and the claims review process.

Terrorism and International Victim Assistance Services

OVC (2009)
This brochure briefly describes the Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program, ITVERP, Crime Victim Emergency Assistance Fund, and Victim Reunification Travel Program.

Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism

The Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism works to—

  • Ensure that when Americans are injured or killed in terrorist attacks overseas, investigation and prosecution remain a high priority within DOJ.
  • Monitor the investigation and prosecution of terrorist attacks against Americans abroad in both foreign and U.S. criminal justice systems.
  • Ensure that the rights of victims and their families are honored and respected throughout the criminal justice system.
Resource Guide for Serving U.S. Citizens Victimized Abroad

OVC (2008)
This guide helps victim service providers develop strategic plans and act upon those plans to ensure that key personnel, resources, and protocols are in place to help those who are victimized abroad, including victims of international terrorism.

Handbook on Justice for Victims

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (1999)
This handbook outlines the basic steps in developing comprehensive assistance services for victims of crime. It is meant as a tool for criminal justice agencies and victim service providers to use as they implement programs, policies, procedures, and protocols that address victims’ needs.

International Criminal Court: Victims and Witnesses

This Web site provides information for victims whose cases are moving through the International Criminal Court. It describes the court process and discusses legal representation, victim participation, and reparations.

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Legal Assistance

National Crime Victim Bar Association

This Web site includes information for attorneys, crime victims, and advocates who are pursuing or thinking of pursuing cases in civil court.

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Mental Health

OVC Handbook for Coping After Terrorism: A Guide to Healing and Recovery

OVC (2001)
This handbook provides victims of terrorism with information based on the expertise of mental health, crisis counseling, and victim assistance professionals and is intended to help these victims understand their reactions to an act of terrorism or mass violence.

Trauma Tips

Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance
Five tip sheets cover victim and witness reactions to trauma; helping children and teens cope with trauma; tips for students; tips for teachers, staff, and mentors; and tips for parents and family members.

Coping After Terrorism for Injured Survivors

Office for Victim Assistance, Federal Bureau of Investigation
This handbook, which is not intended as a substitute for professional counseling, helps survivors understand their reactions to an act of terrorism or mass violence.

Mental Health Response to Mass Violence and Terrorism: A Field Guide

SAMHSA (2005)
This field guide is for first responders, service providers, mental health professionals, and others who help victims and their families in the aftermath of mass violence or terrorism. It describes key principles for mental health intervention, some of the immediate needs of survivors and families, psychological first aid and counseling skills, when to refer survivors for mental health services, populations with special needs, and stress prevention, management, and intervention. The guide is a companion piece to Mental Health Response to Mass Violence and Terrorism: A Training Manual.

Mental Health Response to Mass Violence and Terrorism: A Training Manual

SAMHSA (2004)
This manual provides guidance for training mental health and crime victim service providers who help victims, survivors, and the community at large to cope with and recover after an act of terrorism or mass violence. One chapter describes the characteristics of disaster events that are likely to result in serious and long-lasting psychological effects for those impacted by it. This is followed by a chapter that describes individual and community-based mental health interventions that can assist service providers in dealing with those affected by such disasters. A third chapter provides an overview of the incident command system likely to be established in response to a disaster, along with the roles, jurisdiction, and responsibilities of the key responding organizations. The mental health response supports the primary emergency response agencies in authority. Another chapter describes sources of mental health responder stress, including environmental and individual factors. The manual then turns toward practical steps in developing a training program, including who should be involved as trainees and instructors. A chapter presents a comprehensive training course outline that contains nine modules with objectives, materials, procedures, and duration. Suggested topics include the characteristics and psychological impact of criminal mass victimization; organizational response and mental health roles; children’s and adolescents’ reactions and interventions; considerations and interventions for cultural and ethnic groups; and stress prevention, management, and intervention. The concluding chapter suggests additional training needs and options. The companion field guide may be used with this publication to assist mental health and crime victim service providers while on site of a terrorist or mass violence incident.

Mental Health and Mass Violence: Evidence-Based Early Psychological Intervention for Victims/Survivors of Mass Violence

National Institute of Mental Health (2002)
In 2001, disaster mental health experts convened a workshop to examine early intervention efforts being offered to victims and survivors of mass violence to determine what works, what doesn’t work, and whether gaps exist. This report addresses the areas of consensus at the workshop: the key operating principles of early intervention, best practices based on research evidence, timing of early intervention, screening for survivors, followup guidelines, provider expertise, the role of research and evaluation, ethical issues, and remaining key questions.

Trauma and Violence

SAMHSA
This Web page links to SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline, which is the Nation’s first hotline dedicated to delivering disaster crisis counseling. The toll-free helpline operates 24/7 via telephone (800–985–5990) and SMS (text “TalkWithUs” to 66746) for U.S. residents who are experiencing psychological distress as a result of natural or manmade disasters or incidents of mass violence. Callers are connected to trained and caring professionals who provide confidential counseling, referrals, and other needed support services. The Web page also describes types of trauma and violence and SAMHSA's efforts to address the issue and links to grants, publications, and resources. Examples of SAMHSA resources, available in its publications store and via its Web site, follow:

Disaster Mental Health Institute

University of South Dakota
The Disaster Mental Health Institute’s Web site includes some helpful resources related to trauma and mental health:

  • Coping With the Aftermath of a Disaster (lists reactions common to people who experience traumatic stress, provides coping tips, and offers guidelines on when to seek professional help).
  • Coping With the Aftermath of Witnessing a Major Disaster (lists common reactions people have after witnessing a major disaster, provides coping tips, and offers guidelines on when to seek professional help).
  • Helping Children and Adolescents Deal With Grief (includes a bibliography of children’s books dealing with the death of a loved one).

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Trauma-Informed Victim Care

Safe Start Program: Children Exposed to Violence Tip Sheets

This Web page, which details the Safe Start program, links to numerous fact sheets that provide tips on helping children who have been exposed to violence.

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Victim Advocacy, Outreach, and Education

Handbook on Justice for Victims

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (1999)
This handbook outlines the basic steps in developing comprehensive assistance services for victims of crime. It is meant as a tool for criminal justice agencies and victim service providers to use as they implement programs, policies, procedures, and protocols that address victims’ needs.

National Victim Assistance Academy

The National Victim Assistance Academy offers self-paced online training and facilitated Webinars to help victim service providers develop their professional skills and become more knowledgeable. These free training opportunities are led by subject matter experts.

Victim Assistance Training Online (VAT Online)

VAT Online is a basic victim advocacy training program for victim service providers and allied professionals. The training includes four sections:

1. Basics covers victims’ rights, the justice systems that provide a foundation for victim services, and other basic information.

2. Core Knowledge and Skills covers issues regarding communication, confidentiality, and advocacy.

3. Crimes covers characteristics, prevalence, and other details about specific crimes.

4. Special Populations covers the information and skills needed to serve specific populations (e.g., LGBTQ victims, victims on campus).

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Victims’ Rights

Overview of Crime Victims’ Rights

OVC
This Web page links to more information about victims’ rights legislation, enforcement mechanisms and pro bono legal clinics, compliance at the federal and state level, and notification.

Victim Law

This searchable database of victims’ rights legal provisions allows users to search by topic, keyword, jurisdiction, and citation. Search results cover federal, state, and territorial statutes as well as tribal laws, state constitutional amendments, court rules, administrative code provisions, and summaries of court decisions and attorney generals’ opinions.

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Victim Service Providers

OVC Resources: Victim Service Provider Information

OVC has various resources that help crime victims find local assistance and services and help victim service providers do their job. These include the following:

  • Directory of Crime Victim Services—Search for nonemergency crime victim service agencies by location and type of victimization, service needed, and agency.
  • Help for Crime Victims—Find out how to contact local victim assistance and compensation programs and link to resources, organizations, and publications.
  • U.S. Resource Map of Crime Victim Services & Information—Connect to crime victim services and compensation programs, victim notification programs, information on reporting crime victims’ rights violations, and—for providers—conferences and events, victims’ rights legal provisions, statistics, and statewide performance reports.
  • Resources for International Victims—Link to international centers, publications, and Web sites related to crime victim issues.
  • Toll-Free and Online Hotlines—Find hotlines and 800 numbers for national victim-serving organizations, clearinghouses, and referral organizations.
Suggested Reading List on Strategic Planning

OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center
This link goes to a suggested reading list on strategic planning, principally for nonprofit organizations.

National Organization for Victim Assistance

The National Organization for Victim Assistance maintains a list of victim advocates by state and for the District of Columbia. In addition to providing resources for victims of crime, the organization also assists victims of crisis.  

National Center for Victims of Crime

The National Center for Victims of Crime advocates for victims’ rights and offers training, education, and technical assistance opportunities for victim service providers. Its Web site includes numerous publications and resources to assist victims of crime. These include the Connect Directory, which allows victims to easily locate local service providers.

National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children

The National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children (POMC) provides parents and loved ones with emotional, legal, and professional support and offers training to law enforcement, medical, mental health, social work, and other professionals who want to learn more about what happens in the aftermath of murder. POMC’s Web site includes a list of local chapters, which meet monthly.

National Crime Victim Bar Association

The National Crime Victim Bar Association’s Web site includes information for attorneys, crime victims, and advocates who are pursuing or thinking of pursuing cases in civil court. The For Advocates section discusses the benefits of civil litigation and the role that victim service providers play and links to more information about training opportunities.

National Crime Victim Law Institute

The National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) works to assert victims’ rights in criminal trial courts through advocacy, education, and training. NCVLI maintains and disseminates a resource databank of crime victim law, assists attorneys who provide direct legal services to crime victims, establishes legal clinics to represent victims in court, and files amicus briefs advocating for crime victims’ rights in the courts. The Web site’s For Professionals page contains information on the National Alliance of Victims’ Rights Attorneys and Advocates, a Victim Law Library, technical assistance on victims’ rights, and training.

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August 2015   •   NCJ 248647
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