Office for Victims of Crime - Justice for Victims. Justice for All
Justice for Victims. Justice for All
Helping Victims of Mass Violence & Terrorism: Planning, Response, Recovery, and Resources


Compendium of Resources

Lessons Learned From Previous Incidents


Responding to September 11 Victims: Lessons Learned From the States

OVC (2005)
This monograph details the significant challenges that states overcame in responding to 9/11 victims’ needs, the lessons they learned, and promising practices.

Responding to Terrorism Victims: Oklahoma City and Beyond

OVC (2000)
This report addresses victims’ immediate and long-term needs that emerged as a result of the Oklahoma City bombing, legal issues pertaining to victims of terrorism involving mass casualties, lessons learned from the Oklahoma City bombing and subsequent acts of terrorism, and policy recommendations that promote preparedness.

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Mass Shootings

Impact of Mass Shootings on Survivors, Families, and Communities

Norris. 2007. PTSD Research Quarterly 18(3):1–7
This article reviews studies of 15 mass shooting events to determine the prevalence, persistence, and predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder after the event; the nature of survivor and community concerns; and lessons learned.

Psychological Intervention With the Virginia Tech Shootings: Lessons Learned and Recommendations

A psychological crisis counseling team located at Montgomery Regional Hospital provided mental health services to victims of the Virginia Tech shootings, their loved ones, and hospital staff and affiliates. This report highlights the lessons they learned: the necessity of having a safe haven, prompt and accurate information, media boundaries, strong partnerships, and services for caretakers; the potency of imagery; and the importance of resolution.

A Survey of Perceptions of the Virginia Tech Tragedy

Fallahi et al. 2009. Journal of School Violence 8(2):120–135
The authors of this article surveyed students, faculty, and staff to determine how they felt about the Virginia Tech shootings, media coverage, and school violence. Mental illness and social isolation were thought to be likely factors in the shootings.

The Effects of Vicarious Exposure to the Recent Massacre at Virginia Tech

Fallahi and Lesik. 2009. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy 1(3):220–230
This article examined students at a university other than Virginia Tech to determine whether their stress-related symptoms increased as a result of following the shootings through the media. They found that as TV viewing increased, so did the probability of moderate or acute stress symptoms.

Impacts of the Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University Shootings on Fear of Crime on Campus

Kaminski et al. 2010. Journal of Criminal Justice 38(1):88–98
This study surveyed students at the University of South Carolina before and after the shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University to determine whether levels of student fear increased after a mass shooting. Findings indicate a modest increase in various measures of fear.

Well-Being After the Virginia Tech Mass Murder: The Relative Effectiveness of Face-to-Face and Virtual Interactions in Providing Support to Survivors

Hawdon and Ryan. 2012. Traumatology 18:3–12
This article reviews whether virtual interactions (e.g., sending e-mails, texting) are as effective as face-to-face interactions after an incident of mass violence. Results of the study, which surveyed Virginia Tech students 5 months after the shootings, indicate that face-to-face interactions improved well-being, whereas virtual interactions were unrelated to well-being.

Forward, Together Forward: Coping Strategies of Students Following the 2008 Mass Shootings at Northern Illinois University

Palus et al. 2012. Traumatology 18(4):13–26
This article reviews how gender and time played roles in the use of coping strategies after the 2008 mass shootings at Northern Illinois University. Findings indicate that women and men use different coping strategies and that the passage of time affects which coping strategies are used.

Social Support, World Assumptions, and Exposure as Predictors of Anxiety and Quality of Life Following a Mass Trauma

Grills-Taquechel et al. 2011. Journal of Anxiety Disorders 25(4):498–506
This article examines how the Virginia Tech shootings influenced anxiety symptoms and quality of life and the potential roles that world assumptions (e.g., self-worth, benevolence of people) and social support played.

Reactions to Trauma Research Among Women Recently Exposed to a Campus Shooting

Fergus et al. 2011. Journal of Traumatic Stress 24(5):596–600
This article examines the reactions of 58 women, recently exposed to a campus shooting, to participating in trauma-related research. Most participants reported that they would agree to participate in the study again, a finding that supports “the appropriateness of conducting experimental-based studies in the short-term aftermath of a large scale traumatic event. Such research is critical for preventing long term adjustment problems and reducing mental health care costs.”

Police Officers Involved in a Manhunt of a Mass Murder: Memories and Psychological Responses

Karlsson and Christianson. 2006. Policing 29(3):524–540
This article focuses on police officers’ reactions to and memories of their involvement in a mass shooting investigation 10 months, 5 years, and 9 years after the incident. Memories remained vivid long after the mass shooting, although they began to fade after 9 years.

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August 2015   •   NCJ 248647
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