Victim Service Professionals

Victim service professionals supporting those affected by mass violence incidents must be aware of victims’ unique needs in order to connect them to the right resources. The tools below have been developed specifically for readiness, response and resilience, ensuring that VSPs are prepared for – and can appropriately respond to – a mass violence incident.

This tip sheet clearly defines the crucial role of Victim Service Professionals in the readiness phase of a mass violence incident.

The Role of Victim Service Professionals in Preparing for Mass Violence Incidents

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When Victim Service Professionals (VSPs) are contacted to work in the aftermath of a mass violence incident, it is helpful for them to be prepared with a “Go Kit” of personal resources.

Individual “Go Kit” Checklist

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There are many state and local level victim/survivor assistance agencies and organizations that provide leadership in responding to mass violence incidents. It is important to prepare in advance in order to be ready to establish an initial response center, a family assistance center, and provide services and support to MVI victims, survivors and witnesses in the immediate- and short-term following a MVI.

Victim Assistance Agency “Go Kit” Checklist

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There are many acronyms that victim assistance, allied professionals, or anyone working with victims, survivors, or communities should be familiar with in all readiness, response, and resilience activities relevant to mass violence incidents.

Master Acronym List for Mass Violence Events

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“At-a-Glance” - The Role of Victim Service Professionals

Role of VSPs: Readiness, Response, Recovery and Resilience Matrix

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This tip sheet clearly defines the crucial role of VSPs in the response phase of a mass violence incident.

The Role of Victim Service Professionals in Responding to Mass Violence Incidents

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This list features the key federal, national and state agencies that assist in activities related to readiness, response and resilience in mass violence incidents.

Guide to Agencies in MVI Response

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This Tip Sheet is designed to help law enforcement officers, medical examiners, victim assistance professionals and other professionals make sensitive death notifications.

We Regret to Inform You: A Guide to Providing Sensitive Death Notifications

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Hashtags are typically created to provide support to survivors and communities affected by MVIs, grouping all social media posts using the tag in one location. But sometimes hashtags can also be used to spread unreliable and unverified rumors.

MVIs and Social Media: A Guide to Hashtags

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Social media plays a vital role in the dissemination of information following a mass violence incident. This Tip Sheet includes the main agencies, organizations and how they provide and receive critical information via their websites and social media.

After a MVI: Helpful Websites and Social Media Accounts

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Three focus groups were held in May 2018 with select state Victim Assistance Administrators (VOCA) and Victim Compensation Directors (COMP) whose states have experienced mass violence incidents to help clarify their roles in assisting states with readiness, response and resilience.

Reports of Focus Groups of VOCA & Compensation Professionals

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Several terms are used interchangeably, and often inaccurately, to describe a mental health treatment as being effective. This Tip Sheet sorts it out.

Evidence-Based Treatments and Practices

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In many communities, After Action Reports (AARs) are generated following mass violence incidents and include a wealth of information about pre-event preparations, acute response and post-event support services. However, in our review of AARs for MVIs in the past 15 years, we found that summaries of mental/behavioral health and other highly-valuable victim services is rarely included.

Victim Centric MVI AAR Recommendations and Template

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After Action Reports (AARs) produced after mass violence incidents often include a wealth of information; however, few guidelines exist for generating AARs, especially in regards to summarizing the provision of victim/survivor services and mental health services. In addition to providing in-depth guidance about how to plan and develop an AAR, this Review also provides a strong foundation to help plan a coordinated response to MVIs across multiple agencies and jurisdictions.

MVC After Action Report Review

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NMVVRC support services aim to: 1) empower local providers to offer evidence-based interventions to victims of mass violence, and 2) offer services directly to victims of mass violence, when local providers are not available.

NMVVRC Support Services

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This tip sheet clearly defines the crucial role of VSPs in the resilience phase of a mass violence incident.

The Role of Victim Service Professionals in Building Resilience after Mass Violence Incidents

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These guidelines focus on steps that victim service professionals (VSPs) can take after the initial death notification has been delivered.

After the Death Notification

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The Victim/Survivor Assistance Navigator (VAN) fulfills a critical position within Resiliency Centers. Created in the aftermath of mass violence incidents (MVIs), the Victim/Survivor Assistance Navigator identifies and provides guidance and referrals for quality, collaborative services and supports victims and affected community members.

Victim Assistance Navigator Position Description

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Grief and Vicarious Trauma Reading List

The following are reading lists for providers who offer counseling or grief-related services to the bereaved. 

Click here for a downloadable version of this list.

For adults who have lost a loved one

Title

Author(s)

Publisher

Publication Year

Psychological interventions for individuals bereaved by homicide: a systematic review

Filipa Alves-Costa, Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis, Hope Christie, Mariëtte  van Denderen, & Sarah Halligan

Trauma, Violence, & Abuse

2019

Treating Trauma and Traumatic Grief in Children and Adolescents

Judith A. Cohen, Anthony P. Mannarino, Esther Deblinger

Guilford Press

2006

Techniques of grief therapy: Creative practices for counseling the bereaved

Robert A. Neimeyer

Routledge

2012

Techniques of grief therapy: Assessment and intervention

Robert A. Neimeyer

Routledge

2015

Treating traumatic bereavement: A practitioner's guide

Laurie Anne Pearlman, Camille B. Wortman, Catherine A. Feuer, Christian H. Farber, & Therese A. Rando

Guilford Publications

2014

Retelling Violent Death

Edward K. Rynearson

New York: Routledge

2001

Group Work with Adolescents After Violent Death: A Manual for Practitioners

Alison Salloum

New York: Routledge

2012

Trauma and Grief Component Therapy for Adolescents: A Modular Approach to Treating Traumatized and Bereaved Youth

William Saltzman, Christopher M. Layne, Robert Pynoos, Erna Olafson, Julie Kaplow, & Barbara Boat

Cambridge University Press

2017

Complicated Grief Treatment Manual

M. Katherine Shear

Columbia Center for Complicated Grief

2015

Grief counseling and grief therapy: A handbook for the mental health practitioner

J. William Worden

Springer Publishing Company

2018

 

Informational Videos, Webinars, and Testimonials

For working with adults:

Title

Author(s)

Producer, Production Date

Link

Losing a loved one to homicide: What we know from research and practice [Recorded Webinar]

Sara Bastomski & Marina Duane

Office for Victims of Crime, 2018

Accessible at no cost: Click here

The surviving victims: Guiding the families of homicide victims through the criminal justice process [Recorded Webinar]

Bill Bunting

Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2019

Accessible at no cost:

Click here

Individual and collective trauma: Coping with homicide due to gun violence in African American communities [Recorded Webinar]

Tanya Sharpe

2017

Accessible at no cost:

Click here

Introduction to complicated grief treatment. NYC CBT Lecture Series. [Recorded Webinar].

M. Katherine Shear, Natalia Skritskaya, & Nancy Turret

2016

Accessible at no cost: Click here

Aftermath of a Murder: Survivor Stories; Supporting Loss by Homicide

Karen Weibe

YouTube, 2014

Click here

Complicated grief after suicide bereavement and other causes of death: Results of NIMH and AFSP study on optimizing treatment for complicated grief (HEAL).

Sidney Zisook

2017

Accessible at no cost: Click here

 

For working with children:

Title

Author(s)

Producer, Production Date

Link

The surviving victims: Guiding the families of homicide victims through the criminal justice process [Recorded Webinar].

Bill Bunting

Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2019

Accessible at no cost: Click here

Treating childhood traumatic grief (CTG) using components of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT; Part One). [Recorded Webinar Series].

Marcella Hayes, Kim Fox, & Elizabeth Hartwig.

2019

Accessible at no cost: Click here

Treating childhood traumatic grief: Implementing the grief-focused components of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT). [Recorded Webinar].

Sufna John

2014

Accessible at no cost: Click here

The courage to remember: Training video on child traumatic grief [Video]

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

YouTube, 2005

Accessible at no cost: Click here

 

For additional trainings specific to mass violence and terrorism are offered through the National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center, click here.

For additional trainings specific to mass violence and terrorism offered through the Office for Victims of Crime, click here.