Organizing Support for Victims and Survivors

Community members picking up supplies such as food and water at a local donation center

Civic actions that make victims, survivors and the larger community feel safe and supported are crucial steps towards recovery. It is important to offer reassurance, restore morale and unity, and organize victim services through the long process of medical recovery, emotional trauma and court cases.

In the days, weeks, and months after a mass violence incident it is crucial that the community and its leaders organize services and offer support for victims, survivors, and their families. Resources and support that is easily accessible will help to facilitate the recovery process and restore morale and unity.

Wondering where to start?

Collaboration among local government officials, law enforcement agencies and victim assistance professionals is something that should be planned and established prior to the occurrence of an incident. Victims and survivors will not receive the support they need if the major entities in the community are not implementing a comprehensive plan and practicing open communication.

The following tip sheets can help you better understand the type of support victims and survivors of mass violence incidents will need in the hours, days and weeks after it occurs.

Tip sheets

Checklist on a clipboard

Guidelines for Family Assistance Centers

Family assistance centers streamline the process of family reunification and death notifications, and provide access to other immediate services that are crucial in the recovery process. This tip sheet is a comprehensive guide for community leaders and law enforcement officials who are tasked with organizing a family assistance center following a mass violence incident.

Victim assistance professional comforting a child following a mass violence incident

What Community Leaders can do to Support Victims and Survivors

Provides a high-level overview of services and support that community leaders can provide to victims and survivors of a mass violence event, and emphasizes the importance of mobilizing trained victim assistance professionals and establishing a full-service family assistance center.

Illustration of people in a circle holding hands

Victim Liaison

Victim assistance professionals and other victim service providers play an essential role in aftermath of a mass violence incident. Offering victim assistance professionals to victims and family members helps to minimize the trauma that can be associated with the overwhelming onslaught of resources and demands. This tip sheet provides examples of program models that address this.

Additional Resources

U.S. Department of Justice

Mass Fatality Incident Family Assistance Operations

Recommended strategies for local and state agencies when coordinating family assistance operations following a mass fatality incident.

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