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O n March 3, 2000, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) sponsored a roundtable discussion about the effects of gun violence on individual victims, their families, and their communities. This 1-day meeting in Washington, D.C., brought together a diverse group of professionals who work with victims of gun violence: physicians, social workers, mental health providers, prosecutors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, school principals, victim compensation administrators, and judges. Several gunshot victims and survivors who lost family members to gun violence also participated. This interdisciplinary discussion was designed to

  • Identify key victim issues stemming from firearm violence.

  • Increase understanding of the full range of gun victims' needs and how they differ from the needs of other crime victims.

  • Identify promising or successful assistance programs for victims of gun violence.

  • Develop recommendations for how federal and state crime victims' funds could be used to address unmet needs.

The 18-person group reflected a wide range of expertise—from a trauma surgeon who operates on gun victims to a counselor who accompanies families to the morgue to a judge who hears victim impact statements. Although each participant's contribution to the discussion was shaped by his or her unique experience, the major concerns raised by all participants were remarkably consistent and supported by the growing literature on gun victimization. This bulletin highlights the issues raised and the recommendations developed by the roundtable. While our focus was victims of gun crime, as mandated by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) administered by OVC, we recognize that victims of all types of gun trauma—including unintentional shootings and suicides—have many of the same needs that can be met with help from victim service providers.

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Working With Victims of Gun Violence
July 2001
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