In the aftermath of an act of international terrorism, you may find yourself providing assistance to victims and their families. OVC wants to equip you with tools and programs that may help you respond.
International Terrorism Victim Expense Reimbursement Program
|If you are assisting 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 will want to inform them about the International Terrorism Victim Expense Reimbursement Program (ITVERP). ITVERP, funded by the Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve (Emergency Reserve) and administered by OVC, provides financial reimbursement for qualifying expenses such as medical, mental health, property loss, and funeral expenses. Familiarize yourself with who is eligible, what expenses are covered, and how to apply by visiting the ITVERP Web site.|
After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, Congress amended the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), authorizing OVC to set aside up to $50 million annually from the Crime Victims Fund for the Emergency Reserve. The Crime Victims Fund is derived from federal criminal fines, forfeitures, and penalties collected by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, U.S. Courts, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Office of Overseas Citizens Services
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. If you are working with an individual who has been a victim of a terrorist attack occurring outside the United States who is in need of emergency assistance, or with a family member of such a victim, you may direct the person to the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at—
Crime Victim Assistance Emergency Fund for Victims of Terrorism or Mass Violence
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is uniquely suited to provide emergency assistance to victims of international terrorism because of its international scope and extensive experience in responding to more than 13,000 victims of these crimes. Visit the FBI’s Office for Victim Assistance (OVA) Web page for more information about the Federal and Special Jurisdictions Program.
Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism
The Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OVT) is responsible for ensuring that—
Victims of terrorism are entitled to the same rights and services from the Department of Justice that are afforded to victims of federal crimes occurring in the United States. These rights include—
If you are working with an individual who has been a victim of a terrorist attack occurring outside the United States, or a family member of a victim, you may direct the person to OVT at 202–532–4100 for more information about the criminal justice process.
State Victim Compensation Program
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 victim compensation program in your state for more information about eligibility and the application process so you can refer victims to them. For information about your state’s victim compensation program, go to OVC’s map of state programs, click on your state and the "VOCA State Contacts" tab.
Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center
The Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University–San Marcos addresses the need for active shooter response training for first-responders. In addition to in-depth after-action lessons learned through partnerships with agencies that have been involved in active shooter situations, ALERRT has engaged a criminal justice research professor to evaluate and enhance the overall understanding of active shooter events and assist in improving law enforcement’s response to these incidents by instituting best practices. The ALERRT Center has developed and currently delivers seven grant-funded first-responder courses throughout the Nation. These scenario-based training courses are taught by ALERRT staff who are adjunct instructors and experts in active shooter responses.
GAINS Center: Trauma Training for Criminal Justice Professionals
The GAINS Center, a program of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), offers training that helps educate criminal justice professionals about the impact of trauma and how to develop trauma-informed responses.
International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc.
International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc., provides leadership, education, training, consultation, and support services in comprehensive crisis intervention as well as behavioral health services during critical incidents.
National Center for Trauma Informed Care
Operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Center for Trauma Informed Care provides training for policy makers, administrators, staff, leaders, other stakeholders in order to implement trauma-informed approaches in a range of service systems, including mental health, criminal justice and victim assistance.
National Training and Technical Assistance Center
The Bureau of Justice Assistance National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) works with all levels of government to help prevent, disrupt, and defeat terrorist acts before they occur. NTTAC also recognizes that the job of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors is to bring terrorists to justice and that every citizen can play a vital role in preventing terrorism. NTTAC supports a variety of counter-terrorism training and technical assistance resources for law enforcement and other criminal justice practitioners. Knowing what educational outlets exist and where to turn for technical assistance can help agencies prepare for and respond to a terrorist incident. NTTAC’s training topics include cyber-terrorism and computer technology, environmental protection, and victim assistance.
OVC Mass Violence and Emergency Training Webinar Series
In January 2012, OVC hosted the Mass Violence and Emergency National Training Conference, "Improving Readiness to Assist Victims," which focused on the importance of cooperation and collaboration between federal, state, tribal, and local agencies. For more information, check out the presentations from the conference. Following the conference, Fox Valley Technical College, with funding from OVC, developed a webinar series to enhance skills, share strategies and techniques, create best practices to improve planning, and understand the long-term effects on communities impacted by mass violence. The webinars included such topics as—
OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center
OVC TTAC provides comprehensive training, technical assistance, and other support to assist the victim services field in building its collective capacity to serve crime victims.
In June 2016, OVC TTAC presented seven multimedia web trainings to introduce the Helping Victims of Mass Violence and Terrorism: Planning, Response, Recovery, and Resources Toolkit. View this web training series summary report (PDF 144 kb) to learn more and view the recorded trainings.
Visit the OVC TTAC website and explore additional ways they can support you.
Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators
This toolkit was developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network to provide school administrators, teachers, staff, and concerned parents with basic information about working with traumatized children in the school system.
Coping with Disaster: Helping Children with Cognitive Disabilities
This article provides information on children dealing with disaster, in general and by age, and offers strategies to use with children with disabilities.
Compensation Protocol: A Guide to Responding to Mass Casualty Incidents
A product of the OVC-funded Mass Casualty Protocol project, this manual examines the role of victim compensation programs during a mass casualty incident and describes a strategy for serving victims, survivors, allied victim professionals, and compensation program staff.
Federal Family Assistance Plan for Aviation Disasters
This plan is designed to provide guidance when assigning responsibilities and describes how air carriers and federal agencies should respond to an aviation accident involving a significant number of passenger fatalities and/or injuries. Organizations given legal authority or responsibility should use this plan to develop procedures specific to their roles.
Field Manual for Mental Health and Human Service Workers in Major Disasters
This pocket-size reference manual is for mental health workers and other human service providers who assist survivors following a disaster. It describes the basic mental health services that are needed after a disaster, as well as numerous specific and practical suggestions for workers, and includes essential information about survivors’ reactions to a disaster and the types of assistance they need. It also describes the necessary "helping" skills” and provides guidance on when to refer survivors for professional assistance. The last section presents strategies for preventing and managing workers’ stress.
Fostering Resilience in Response to Terrorism: For Psychologists Working with Older Adults
This fact sheet describes the continuum of emotional responses that older adults may exhibit following an act of terrorism, including resilience and vulnerability.
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 Rescue Workers Can Do
This booklet describes what rescue workers can do to help children and adolescents cope with violence and disasters.
Helping Children and Adolescents Deal With Grief
This fact sheet provides information for responding to children and adolescents who are grieving after the death of a loved one. It describes children’s understanding of death, how they grieve, and the emotions children commonly experience as well as tips for beginning and continuing conversations with children about death and a bibliography of children’s books on dealing with grief.
Helping Survivors in the Wake of Disaster
This fact sheet provides concise information for volunteers, mental health clinicians, chaplains, and medical personnel on the effects of traumatic stress as well as recommendations for helping survivors of disasters.
Mental Health Reactions After Disaster: A Fact Sheet for Providers
This fact sheet provides an overview of common reactions and severe stress responses to disaster, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mental Health Response to Mass Violence and Terrorism: A Field Guide
This booklet guides service providers and professionals in the mental health field in responding to and assisting victims and families during the aftermath of mass violence and terrorism.
National Association of School Psychologists
The National Association of School Psychologists provides school safety and crisis resources to help children and youth to cope with traumatic events, including—
Psychological First Aid Field Operations Guide
Developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the National Center for PTSD, Psychological First Aid presents an evidence-informed approach for assisting survivors of disaster and terrorism.
Responding to Victims of Terrorism and Mass Violence Crimes: Coordination and Collaboration Between American Red Cross Workers and Crime Victim Service Providers
This booklet, jointly published by OVC and the American Red Cross, provides information on how Red Cross staff and volunteers can better assist victims of terrorism and mass violence crimes. It focuses on victims’ rights and needs, OVC resources, victim compensation and assistance, and key differences between the needs of victims of crime and victims of natural disasters.
Supporting Victims of Terrorism
This report summarizes the importance of giving victims a face and a voice, protecting their dignity, giving them legal status and defending their legal rights as well as providing victims with medical, psychosocial, and financial support, building solidarity with victims, improving media coverage of victims, and focusing on the link between victims and counter-terrorism efforts more generally.
Terrorist Attacks and Children
This article provides information on how children respond to terrorism and presents steps professionals and parents can take to help children cope with acts of terrorism.
The Vicarious Trauma Toolkit
Research shows that vicarious trauma, when left unaddressed, can lead to staff burnout, turnover, stress, and a lesser quality of services for victims. This OVC toolkit offers guidance to help organizations strengthen their ability to address work-related exposure to trauma.
Additional resources are available from the following OVC topical pages—