U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Help for Victims

@maxstockphoto/shutterstock.com (see reuse policy).

Help for Victims of Terrorism and Mass Violence

We would like to offer our deepest sympathy for the trauma you have endured and our support for your recovery.

To help you navigate the resources and programs that may be of assistance to you, we have compiled the following information.

Select from the menu below if you or a family member has been a victim of an act of terrorism or mass violence occurring within the United States and is seeking—

  • crisis counseling
  • information about the investigation
  • victim compensation, and
  • additional information and resources.

Crisis Counseling

The Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7 disaster crisis counseling. Contact this crisis support toll free at 800–985–5990 (for Spanish, press 2) and or text 'TalkWithUs' to 66746 (for Spanish, text 'Hablanos').

 to residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or man-made disasters.

The helplines is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Information About the Investigation

The Terrorism and Special Jurisdictions Program in the Victim Services Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) manages the FBI’s operational victim assistance response to terrorist attacks inside the United States, criminal transportation disasters, and other mass casualty crimes. The Terrorism and Special Jurisdictions Program consists of a highly specialized team of clinical and medical social workers, a forensic/mortuary affairs family liaison, and an operational psychologist with expertise in hostage victim recovery and reintegration. 

The Victim Assistance Rapid Deployment Team, consisting of experienced and skilled FBI victim specialists from across the country, is used to expand the capacity to support victims and operations in the aftermath of a terrorist or other mass casualty crime. Visit the FBI’s Victim Services Division webpage for more information about the Federal and Special Jurisdictions Program.

Information About the Criminal Justice Process

During the investigation and prosecution of acts of domestic terrorism and mass violence, victim-witness personnel in the Nation’s U.S. Attorneys’ offices will make sure that federal crime victims are given the opportunity to receive information and services as required under federal law and the Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance.

For information about your rights and case information, contact the victim-witness personnel in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the district where the prosecution is pending.

If you have already been contacted by a victim-witness coordinator, you should direct all correspondence to that individual.

Victim Compensation

All states receive federal funds from OVC to help them support local victim assistance and victim compensation programs. In the aftermath of an act of terrorism or mass violence, you may be eligible for crime victim compensation benefits such as reimbursement for the cost of medical services, mental health counseling, lost wages, and other expenses incurred as a result of the crime.

Victim compensation benefits are governed by applicable state statutes, so eligibility may vary among states. Contact the compensation program located in the state where the crime occurred for more information about eligibility and the application process.

Visit the OVC’s map of state programs, and click on the state in which the crime occurred to find contact information for the program you need.

Additional Information and Resources

We at OVC will never understand the depths of your despair, but we have compiled the following list of programs and publications that may help you understand and manage your reactions to terrorism and mass violence.

Programs

The Dougy Center
This organization focuses on grief support groups for children and teens from 3 to 18 years old, and their families, who are grieving the death of a parent, sibling, or friend. Through the center’s website, you can access a database of centers throughout the country that provide grief support and services. The center also provides educational materials about children and grief.

National Organization of Parents Of Murdered Children (POMC)
POMC is a national self-help organization for the families and friends of children who have been murdered. POMC provides the ongoing emotional support and promotes healthy grief resolution that parents and other survivors need to build a "new life" after experiencing a child’s murder.

VictimConnect
This OVC-funded service offers confidential assistance to victims of crime. Trained specialists are available to help you locate services in your area, including mental health counseling, legal services, and more. VictimConnect employs both English and Spanish-speaking victim assistance specialists. Following is contact information for this program:

Phone: 855–4–VICTIM (855–484–2846)
Chat: http://victimconnect.org/get-help/victimconnect-chat,
Hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. eastern time

Publications

Coping With Grief After a Disaster or Traumatic Event
This resource provides tips for coping with the grieving process.

Coping After Terrorism for Injured Survivors
This handbook is intended to help victims understand reactions to acts of terrorism and mass violence. It also offers tips for helping victims with the coping with grieving process.

Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters: What Parents Can Do
This booklet describes what parents can do to help children and adolescents cope with violence and disasters.

If You're a Victim of Crime, Help is Available
This OVC video recognizes that being a victim of a crime can be a devastating experience for survivors and their families, describes the help that is available for victims of crime, and identifies certain victims' rights that are guaranteed in most states.

OVC Handbook for Coping After Terrorism: A Guide to Healing and Recovery
This handbook provides victims of terrorism with information about how they may feel or react. It is based on the expertise of mental health, crisis counseling, and victim assistance professionals.

OVC Help Series for Crime Victims: Homicide
The OVC HELP Series of brochures is a resource for victims of crime and the victim service providers that work with them every day. Each brochure defines a type of victimization, discusses what to do if you are the victim of this crime, and provides national resources for more information and where to go for help.

Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event: A Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers
This fact sheet helps parents and teachers to recognize common reactions children of different age groups (preschool, early childhood, adolescence) experience after a disaster or traumatic event. It also offers tips on how to respond to children and adolescents in a helpful way, and when to seek support. 

What You Can Do If You Are a Victim of Crime
This brochure highlights victims’ rights and compensation and assistance programs as well as listing national organizations that will help victims to find information or obtain referrals.

Publications from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides a series of resources that may assist parents, school personnel, pediatric care providers, and others when speaking with youth and teens, including:

The NCTSN also has resources for responders on Psychological First Aid. Psychological First Aid is an early intervention to support children, adolescents, adults, and families impacted by these types of events.

Date Created: April 30, 2020