OVC ArchiveOVC
This file is provided for reference purposes only. It was current when produced, but is no longer maintained and may now be outdated. Please select www.ovc.gov to access current information.
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Office for Victims of Crime
OJP Seal
Working With Victims of Gun Violence

About This Bulletin

Gun violence in America crosses the demographic lines of age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and class—very few Americans have not been affected by the scourge of gun violence. Gun violence corrodes the fabric of our communities, traumatizing victims, witnesses, families, communities, and even our Nation, as recent high-profile school shootings have shown.

To understand and respond effectively to violence in our society, we must build on many disciplines, including the victim assistance and criminal justice fields, health care, social services, education, and the clergy. To guide our efforts in serving victims of gun violence, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) sponsored a multidisciplinary group of national experts in March 2000 to identify key victim issues and needs, develop recommendations for using federal funds to address victims' needs, and identify promising practices to serve victims of gun violence.

Not surprisingly, this bulletin indicates that some demographic groups are disproportionately victimized by gun violence and that many victims never receive needed services. And while we typically think of gun violence victims as victims of homicide, we were reminded that there are many more victims who survive their injuries, often with long-term physical and psychological disabilities. Addressing the needs of secondary victims, including children and adults who witness violence, is another challenge for practitioners, and one that we are just beginning to address systematically in the victim assistance and compensation fields. This bulletin not only outlines the many challenges before us but also describes some promising practices in communities across our Nation to serve victims and stop the violence. We believe that the information provided in this bulletin will advance the field's understanding of how gun violence affects victims and their communities and will help OVC identify and support improved services for victims of gun violence.

Working With Victims of Gun Violence
by Judith Bonderman


Who Are the Victims of Gun Violence?

Needs of Gun Victims

Services for Gun Victims

Crime Victim Compensation

Direct Victim Services

Next Steps


Video Series and Resource Guide

PDF and ASCII files

Back to Publications


Judith Bonderman, J.D., M.P.H., teaches a course on gun violence prevention at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. She thanks the roundtable participants for sharing their experiences and for their candid and full discussion of the issues.

This document was prepared under the direction of the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Office for Victims of Crime is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

July 2001

NCJ 186155

OVC Logo
Archive iconThe information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.