The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina cooperated with the staff of the National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center (NMVVRC) in developing this resource guide for federal and state prosecutors in supporting their victim services staff in providing services for the needs of victims and families impacted by mass-violence crimes.
This guide stems from the challenges faced by the U.S. District of South Carolina in addressing the impacts of the mass violence in the Mother Emmanuel AME Church. In such cases, it is important for prosecutors and investigators to ensure that mass-violence victims are afforded every right and accommodation available throughout the investigation and prosecution of a mass-violence crime. This guide provides suggestions and strategies for criminal justice, victim/survivor assistance, and allied professionals in assisting mass-violence survivors and their families through the preparation, planning, and implementation phases of such high-profile trials. The guide has three major sections. Part I, Foundations and Preparedness, provides information and guidance on the unique aspects of criminal Justice processes related to mass-violence crimes, federal victims’ rights, state and local criminal justice processes and victims’ rights, tribal criminal justice processes and victims’ rights, and victim/survivor safety and security. Part II, Planning Phase, addresses the building of partnerships, communication and notification for victims, court needs assessment for victims, preparing participants and victims for trial, and managing expectations for trials. Planning and coordination of daily services for victims during trial proceedings are also discussed in this section. Part III, Implementation Phase at Court, provides guidance on an overview of the daily schedule at court, media relations, culminating event upon the conclusion of the trial, and the continuum of services for victims and providers at the culmination of the trial. The appendices provide more details on 20 related topics