Incidents of mass violence and terrorismbombings, mass riots and shootings, hijackings, bioterrorism attacks, and other human-caused disasterspresent unique challenges to the communities in which they occur. These incidents require a coordinated, cross-sector approach among federal, state, local, and tribal governments; private entities; and nonprofit organizations to drive an effective response.
Although community crime prevention efforts are critical, this toolkit provides tools and resources for developing a comprehensive victim assistance plan that can be incorporated into your community’s existing emergency response plan. Victim assistance plans support and enhance your response and recovery efforts. The toolkit’s Partnerships & Planning section reviews how to create and maintain partnerships, address resource gaps, and develop victim assistance protocols, and its Response and Recovery sections cover how to use the protocols after an incident of mass violence or terrorism. The Tools section includes checklists, samples, a glossary, and a compendium of victim assistance resources.
The checklists can be tailored to fit the needs of your community. Together, these will help you prepare for and respond to victims of mass violence and terrorism in the most timely, effective, and compassionate manner possible. Contact the OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center at [email protected] or 1–866–682–8822 for information about free training or technical assistance related to the toolkit and the checklists.
Helping Victims of Mass Violence and Terrorism: Partnerships and Planning, Response, Recovery
Krista Flannigan, Adjunct Professor, College of Criminal Justice, Florida State University: An incident of mass violence impacts the whole community. But what we have learned is probably one of the most essential components to a response is being able to plan and prepare.
Herman Millholland, Former Director, Crime Victim Services Division, Texas Office of the Attorney General: A response needs to be timely, comprehensive; it also needs to be victim-centered.
Sandy Phillips, Victim Advocate: Victims are often so shocked by what’s happened to them that they don’t know where to turn. So when someone does reach out to them and say, "We’re here for you," that is incredibly helpful.
Deborah Delvecchio-Scully, Clinical Recovery Leader/Trauma Specialist, Newtown Recovery & Resiliency Team: Trauma memories don’t get stored in the brain in the same way that any of our other memories are. That memory is almost behind a wall and . . . and can’t be retrieved by just trying to . . . to force yourself to retrieve it.
Herman Millholland: Healing means something very different to each individual.
Krista Flannigan: These incidents are life-altering. People will never be what they were prior to the tragedy. They have to redefine themselves-a new normal.
Dr. Puni Kalra, Clinical Psychologist, Founder, Sikh Healing Collective: Our resilience is what really speaks out in these tragedies. We persevere, we get through, we become stronger.