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FBI Victim Assistance Program and USAO for the District of Massachusetts

2024 Federal Service Award | National Crime Victims' Service Awards

FBI Victim Assistance Program and USAO for the District of Massachusetts | Federal Service Award
Team Members: Kathryn Turman; Jennifer Frobese; Courtney Litowitz; Shannon Meyer; Renee Murell; Keyla Munoz; Nancy Uveges; Kelly Bradford; Rita Gatlin; Sara Larsen; Michele Stewart; Sarah Vasquez; Colleen Hansen; Janice Dean; Lisa Skolnick; Kathleen Hall; Kyle Scherrer; Christine Linskey; Jill Roark; Harold Dickens; Melody Tiddle; Pamela Elton; Staci Beers; Martha Finnegan; Rachel Happel; Kathleen Liner; Rachel Jacobson; Shannon May; Paul Hood; Joseph Joung; Lori Craig; Aaron Cameron; Alison OConnell; Jasmine Davis; Karen Joyce-McMahon; Barry Moore; Clarice Robinson; Kathleen Griffin; Jessica Pooler; Valerie Gauthier 

The April 15, 2013, bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon resulted in the violent deaths of three individuals, including a child, and injuries to hundreds more. The response to the victims remains a collaborative effort among many agencies and individuals, particularly those from the Boston Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the FBI’s Office of Victim Assistance (OVA), and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. 

Two FBI victim specialists immediately assessed the victim impact. Their knowledge of and close personal relationships with local and state victim service agencies played a key role in the coordination and integration of services. Within hours, OVA deployed a Victim Assistance Rapid Deployment Team (VARDT) to immediately engage with the Boston Division’s Command Post, local counterparts, and the hospitals were victims were being treated. The VARDT organized meetings to include the major state, local, and nongovernmental agencies that were involved in the response or that had additional resources to provide. 

A significant number of families had more than one injured victim. OVA provided more than $450,000 for emergency services for victims and families, including the provision of flights, hotels, and other resources that allowed family members to travel to provide support during hospitalizations, as well as transportation for victims back to their home cities. Victim assistance staff at the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office were sensitive to continuity of care issues and participated in meetings and discussions concerning the coordination and transition of assistance to victims once charges were filed. 

Once the defendant was charged, U.S. Attorney’s Office victim assistance staff arranged for victims to meet with the prosecution team to answer questions and address concerns prior to the defendant’s arraignment. They also arranged opportunities for victims and their families to have sensitive conversations with the prosecution team at multiple locations, and were present onsite before and after to meet with the victims and their families to offer services. The U.S. Attorney’s Office victim assistance staff worked closely with the U.S. District Court to address logistical issues so that victims can attend court hearings. 

Victim assistance staff at both the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are working continuously to provide victims and their families with information about victims’ rights, the status of the court case, and referrals to community-based services.

Watch this tribute video about the Victim Assistance Program, Fort Wayne Police Department, 2020 recipient of the Crime Victims’ Rights Award.