Office for Victims of Crime
International Terrorism Victim Expense Reimbursement Program Report to Congress
NCJ # 239201

Promoting Public Awareness

After experiencing a terrorist incident, those affected must focus on the immediate medical, mental health, family, housing, and other needs of themselves and their loved ones. Many victims and/or their families are not aware of the resources available to them. A critical component of ITVERP includes outreach to inform victims of international terrorist incidents and their families of the assistance this program offers. Outreach activities are focused on two primary groups: potential claimants, and collaborating agencies and organizations that may have contact with potential claimants. This section details the outreach efforts that took place during the reporting period and provides information on the ITVERP Resource Center.

Outreach to Potential Claimants

ITVERP outreach efforts focus on victims of international acts of terrorism and their family members who may be eligible for reimbursement under the program. OVC coordinates with OVA and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to identify potential claimants. When terrorist incidents occur outside the United States and involve U.S. citizens, DOS is the first to respond, locating and identifying the victims. DOS coordinates and communicates with OVA, which provides immediate and ongoing victim assistance support to victims and their family members. Where appropriate, OVA identifies ITVERP as a potential resource and provides victims or their family members with program information.

This interagency coordination enhances OVC’s outreach efforts and gives potential claimants access to much needed resources. During the reporting period, OVC, OVA, and DOS coordinated their efforts to identify and reach out to 891 potential claimants. With materials provided by OVC, DOS and OVA were able to disseminate ITVERP information in the immediate aftermath of the attacks in Mumbai, India, in 2008.

The attacks in Mumbai initiated the first multiagency collaborative response to a major terrorist attack since the start of the program. Often the enormity of an act of terrorism will affect the response—in Mumbai, the post-attack collaboration and communication set the standard for future responses. The incident received NSD designation on December 1, 2008, just days after the attacks. With information provided by the FBI, OVC proactively reached out to the victims of the attacks to explain the benefits provided under ITVERP. Similarly, OVC coordinated with the applicable state compensation programs to coordinate state compensation and ITVERP reimbursements to the victims of the attacks. Based on OVC outreach efforts, 91 application packets were sent out to victims, and 15 of those individuals applied to the program.

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Outreach to Collaborating Agencies and Organizations

Another goal of outreach efforts is to educate the victim assistance community, including collaborating agencies and potential partners, about ITVERP. By reaching out to national and international organizations, and individuals who may come into contact with victims of international terrorism, OVC greatly increases awareness about ITVERP and the resources available.

Program outreach activities targeted towards collaborative agencies and potential partners during the reporting period included the following:
  • Information dissemination to international groups such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Independent Institute of Japan.
  • Coordination with OVC’s Training and Technical Assistance Center and the OVC Resource Center to support ITVERP outreach efforts at several national conferences.
  • Dissemination of updated ITVERP information to federal partners, including the FBI, NSD, and DOS.
  • Enhanced coordination with the National Association for Crime Victim Compensation Boards (NACVCB). Outreach efforts included an e-mail to more than 100 compensation professionals updating them on the ITVERP program, specifically application and eligibility deadlines; an article on ITVERP published in an issue of the NACVCB quarterly newsletter distributed to all state compensation programs; and presentations and the dissemination of ITVERP outreach materials at two NACVCB regional training conferences.
  • OVC participation on the Victims of Terrorism Abroad Task Force, which meets quarterly and comprises representatives from DOJ, the FBI, and DOS.
  • ITVERP briefings for nongovernmental organizations (NGO) and government agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey.
ITVERP distributed outreach materials at a number of national and international conferences and meetings, including the following:
  • National Institute of Justice Conference, June 2009, in Alexandria, Virginia.
  • Annual Conference and Exposition of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, June 2009, in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
  • National Crime Victim Law Institute Crime Victim Law & Litigation Conference, June 2009, in Portland, Oregon.
  • National Center for Victims of Crime National Conference, June 2009, in Washington, D.C.
  • National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives Conference, July 2009, in Norfolk, Virginia.
  • National Victim Assistance Academy IV, August 2009, in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • National Organization for Victim Assistance Conference, August 2009, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • World Society of Victimology International Symposium on Victimology, August 2009, in Mito, Japan.

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ITVERP Resource Center

The ITVERP Resource Center responds to questions and requests made through its dedicated toll free hotline at 1-800-363-0441 and its e-mail address. Program staff are available to respond to inquiries Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. eastern time. Federal, state, and local government agency staff contact the Resource Center to obtain information regarding the program’s rules and eligibility on behalf of specific victims, and to provide information about potential claimants and particular terrorist incidents that might qualify for ITVERP reimbursement. Similarly, NGOs contact the ITVERP Resource Center to obtain information about the program to include in their own outreach efforts.

All congressional inquiries received by OVC are promptly directed to OJP’s Office of Communications. During the reporting period, OVC received two written inquiries from congressional offices requesting information on specific ITVERP claims submitted by their constituents. The written responses were completed within 2 weeks of receipt of the inquiries.

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Claimants and potential applicants can obtain information about the program, including eligibility criteria, reimbursable expenses, and instructions for filing an application, through the ITVERP Web page. Potential claimants can download the application for reimbursement, checklists, and supporting documents directly from the site, which also provides a list of answers to frequently asked questions to assist with the application process. During the reporting period, OVC enhanced the page to include an updated list of NSD-designated terrorist attacks.

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