Report To Congress


The Office for Victims of Crime was created by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1983 and formally established by Congress in 1988 through an amendment to the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984 [42 U.S.C. §10601]. OVC’s mission is to enhance the Nation’s capacity to assist victims of crime and to provide leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims of crime. VOCA also established the Crime Victims Fund, the sole source of funding for VOCA-authorized programs, comprising fines, penalties, and special assessments imposed on convicted federal defendants and gifts, bequests, and donations. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act amended VOCA to authorize OVC to establish an Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve to assist victims of terrorism and mass violence. The OVC Director is authorized to put up to $50 million in this reserve for this purpose.

OVC accomplishes its mission in a variety of ways: administering the Crime Victims Fund and the Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve, supporting direct services, providing training programs, sponsoring demonstration and evaluation projects with national and international impact, publishing and disseminating materials that highlight promising practices in the effective support of crime victims that can be replicated throughout the country and worldwide, sponsoring fellowships and clinical internships, and soon it will be administering a compensation program for victims of international terrorism. Implementation plans for this program are under development.

OVC works with national, tribal, state, military, international, and local victim assistance and criminal justice agencies, as well as other professional organizations to promote fundamental rights and comprehensive services for crime victims. OVC not only administers funding, but also develops policy and provides training and technical assistance to states, localities, and other federal agencies on effective responses to crime victims, and supports public awareness and education on critical victim issues. The largest amount of OVC funding is provided to state agencies to administer programs for assisting crime victims—victim compensation and victim assistance formula grant programs.

OVC makes annual awards to each state, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico to support crime victim compensation programs. The VOCA crime victim compensation formula grant program reimburses victims for crime-related expenses, such as medical costs, mental health counseling, funeral and burial costs, lost wages, or loss of support. Although each state compensation program is administered independently, most programs have similar eligibility requirements and offer comparable benefits. Maximum awards generally range from $10,000 to $25,000. Compensation is paid only when other financial resources, such as private insurance and offender restitution, do not cover the loss. Some expenses are not covered by most compensation programs, including theft, damage, and property loss.

Each compensation program operates under state statutes and rules which generally require victims to cooperate with the reasonable requests of law enforcement and to submit a timely application to the compensation program. VOCA funds supplement state efforts to compensate crime victims. The formula for VOCA compensation is based on 60 percent of the state payments to crime victims in a previous year.

VOCA victim assistance grants are also awarded each year to states to support community-based organizations that serve crime victims. More than 6,000 grants are made to domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, child abuse programs, and victim service units in law enforcement agencies, prosecutors’ offices, hospitals, and social service agencies. These programs provide services including crisis intervention, counseling, emergency shelter, criminal justice advocacy, and emergency transportation. States are required to give priority to programs serving victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. Additional funds must be set aside for underserved victims, such as survivors of homicide victims and victims of drunk driving crashes.

All states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico receive a base victim assistance amount of $500,000 each. The territories of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa receive a base amount of $200,000 each. Additional funds are distributed based on population.

Background and Overview

On September 11, 2001, four passenger jets departed within 42 minutes of one another from three East Coast airports. Terrorists hijacked these planes. Two pierced the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City, causing them to collapse. Another rammed into the Pentagon building in Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. The fourth crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Estimates of the number of deceased victims reached a total of 3,047, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, “Crime in the United States 2001.” These victims do not include the many injured and survivors of the deceased.

OVC has statutory authority and experience in working with communities responding to incidents of terrorism and mass violence, and was identified to administer funds and programs to assist the victims of the terrorist attacks. Before September 11th, OVC had funded and coordinated victim assistance services for five separate terrorist attacks: the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland (1988); the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City (1995); the Khobar Towers bombing in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (1996); the U.S. Embassy bombings in East Africa (1998); and the U.S.S. Cole bombing in the port of Aden, Yemen (2000). The September 11th terrorist attacks in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania (2001) was the sixth and largest terrorist attack for which OVC provided assistance.

In anticipation of congressional action to provide what would amount to the largest allocation of resources to respond to a case of terrorism on American soil, immediately following the terrorist attacks OVC allocated funds from its Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve to assist victims in the three states where the crimes occurred. On September 30, 2001, OVC awarded $3.1 million in victim assistance funding and $13.5 million in victim compensation funding to the State of New York and the Commonwealths of Virginia and Pennsylvania.1 These funds were used by the grantees (states) to coordinate and provide emergency assistance to the victims in the form of crisis counseling and other direct services, and to offset out-of-pocket expenses incurred by victims and their family members for medical, mental health, funeral, and lost wages—services and compensation for victims of crime traditionally supported by state agencies. At the same time, OVC staff were working quickly to identify the short-and long-term needs of these victims and related costs as well as to coordinate its efforts with other federal agencies such as FEMA. To date, OVC has committed more than $65.6 million of the Department of Defense Appropriations funding and an additional $3,223,041 from the FY 2001 Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve to address some immediate and long-term needs of the September 11th victims and future victims of terrorism and mass violence. Of the amounts appropriated under the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, the remaining $2.4 million plus will be used to assist victims of the terrorist attacks during the criminal trial of Zacarias Moussaoui. (See Table 1.)

Table 1. Department of Defense Appropriations
(FY 2002)
120-Day Crisis Response Grants
Counseling Grants
Counseling (Nonprofits)
Supplemental Grants
Publication & Printing

At the behest of the Attorney General, using its existing authority and resources to assist victims of terrorism and mass violence, OVC provided additional services, assistance, and support to the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks. A comprehensive database of the affected victims was one of the needs apparent from past responses to victims of terrorism and mass violence. Hours after the terrorist attacks, OVC set up a Call Center which offered a 24-hour, toll-free telephone line for collecting information in a database on victims from family members and providing referrals for financial, housing, and/or counseling assistance. Approximately 37,000 victims and family members received assistance and referrals through the Call Center. In FY 01, OVC provided funding ($2,171,533) from its Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve to support Call Center operations for the September 11th victims and in the event of future terrorist attacks. With this additional funding, OVC now has the capacity to operate the Call Center at 25 percent within the first 30 minutes of a terrorist attack and at 100 percent within 4 hours of an incident.

Using Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve funding ($751,572), OVC also established a Victim and Family Travel Assistance Center which handled all logistical arrangements and paid travel and lodging costs for 1,800 family members traveling to funerals and memorial services. OVC has provided funds from the Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve to offer travel and emergency assistance to September 11th victims and future victims of terrorism.

To facilitate the timely exchange of information, a special Hope and Remembrance Web site was established, using Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve funding, for victims and families of the terrorist attacks. This Web site provided victims with answers to frequently asked questions, official messages from U.S. Government sources, news releases, publications, and external links to other resources. OVC provided funds ($200,000) from the Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve to maintain this site as a resource for victims of terrorism in the event another attack occurs. OVC also published a Handbook for Coping After Terrorism: A Guide to Healing and Recovery in English and Spanish using Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve funds ($17,480) as an additional resource for the victims. Finally, OVC provided funding ($82,456) to cover travel expenses for United Flight 93 family members to attend a meeting to hear the plane’s black box recording. Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve dollars were also used to cover mental health counseling services for the victims who opted to attend this meeting.


OVC’s programs and activities are authorized by the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) as amended [42 U.S.C. §10601]. The Department of Defense and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Recovery From and Response to Terrorist Attacks on the United States Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-117) authorized $68.1 million for emergency expenses (counseling) for the Crime Victims Fund to remain available until expended; and Congress in the Conference Report to the Supplemental Act (Public Law 107-206) directed that any remaining unexpended balances of funding appropriated under Public Law 107-117 be made available for other authorized programs in addition to counseling programs.

Funding Strategy

“Since my husband is self-employed, we have been struggling since 9/11. I just wanted to thank you for researching available sources of financial assistance.The grant we received recently was very much appreciated.”

— wife of rescue worker

Funds appropriated for victim assistance efforts under the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2002 were placed in OVC’s Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve and awarded in accordance with VOCA’s general requirements. Hence, OVC awarded funds to agencies and organizations that met VOCA’s eligibility criteria—recipients were public agencies and private nonprofit organizations that provide direct services to victims of crime and use volunteers in their operations. Funding made available within the first 120 days of the terrorist attacks was distributed according to the program requirements set forth in the guidelines established for the Crime Victim Compensation Program, the Crime Victim Assistance Program, and the Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program for Victims of Terrorism and Mass Violence. Under guidelines for these three programs, funding recipients were able to use grants to assist victims as follows:

Crisis Response—To provide resources to help victims rebuild adaptive capacities, decrease stressors, and reduce symptoms of trauma immediately following the terrorism or mass violence event.

Consequence Management—To provide supplemental resources to help victims adapt to the trauma event and restore victims’ sense of equilibrium.

Crime Victim Compensation—To provide supplemental funding to a state crime victim compensation program that reimburses victims for out-of-pocket expenses related to their victimization in cases of terrorism or mass violence occurring within the United States. Grant funds may be used to pay claims to victims for costs that include, but are not limited to, medical and mental health counseling, funeral and burial costs, and lost wages.

Criminal Justice Support—To facilitate victim participation in an investigation or prosecution directly related to the terrorism or mass violence event.

Although supplemental awards to states and nonprofit organizations that came from moneys made available under the Department of Defense Appropriations Act were governed by VOCA’s general requirements, the scope of assistance was limited to “counseling.” OVC identified four types of “counseling” for which funds could be used:

Crisis Counseling—The application of individual and group treatment procedures which are designed to ease the mental and emotional crisis and their subsequent psychological and behavioral conditions resulting from a major disaster or its aftermath.

Crisis Intervention—Counseling a victim to examine the impact of the terrorism incident on the victim, identifying needs resulting from the crime, developing a plan of services and resources required to respond to the victim’s needs, and assisting the victim in implementing the plan.

Mental Health Counseling and Care—The assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of an individual’s mental and emotional functioning by a person or under the supervision of a person who meets state standards to provide these services.

Peer Support—Creating opportunities for victims to meet other crime victims to provide self-help, information, and peer and social support.

The expansion in use of funds authorized by Congress in the Supplemental Act allowed OVC to permit current and new recipients of funds to use the remaining unexpended fund balances for other types of victim assistance services and support, including assistance to victims during criminal justice proceedings. To date, OVC has received three requests to use funding for other authorized purposes. Two states have asked to use one-time funds to offset administrative costs incurred from providing victim services. In general, this includes the cost of additional personnel to process compensation claims and costs incurred from setting up victim databases and case management systems to track requests and services to victims. Another state has asked to reprogram funding targeted for counseling to the state’s crime victim compensation program to assist victims with out-of-pocket medical expenses, lost wages, funeral and burial costs, and related expenses. Given the availability of charitable resources for victim assistance and the nature of the long-term needs of victims and survivors, funding recipients continue to seriously consider the best use of limited government funds.

Recognizing the urgent need for funds to meet the immediate needs of the affected victims, OVC attempted to minimize application requirements. OVC staff worked closely with the potential funding recipients in completing their application, allowed applicants to fax their application to OVC, and arranged expedited internal review procedures for approving and processing incoming applications. On average, OVC was able to review and approve the first awards within 72 hours.

OVC developed two separate reporting instruments to gather information on the uses of funds for the September 11th terrorist attack victims. One form was used to report information on activities related to services and resources immediately following the event (120-Day Crisis Response Grants). The second form was used to report activities related to the Department of Defense Counseling Grants. Grantees submitted their first reports on December 15, 2002. Data from these reports covered the period October 1, 2001, through September 30, 2002, and are the basis for information contained in this report.

Recipient Agencies and Organizations

“I needed to be with other people who understand. I needed to hear how to cope before, during, and after 9/11. I needed the support other people gave me at today’s meeting.”

— a California victim

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the Governor-appointed victim assistance agency in each jurisdiction received funding from OVC to coordinate with state and federal agencies to assess the immediate needs of their respective jurisdictions and provide services and other assistance to victims. A list of all state agencies that received funds can be found in Appendix A. In New York, the New York State Crime Victims Board (CVB) used an existing network of nearly 80 VOCA-funded victim assistance programs in New York City and 9 surrounding counties. In all, New York funded 19 agencies. The CVB reported that agencies such as Safe Horizons, Rockland Family Shelter, East Harlem Neighborhood Based Alliance Corporation, Westchester Community Opportunity, and the Urban Justice Center provided a swift and efficient response to the needs of the victims and family members in crisis. These agencies used their experience in delivering comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, and homicide as a foundation for providing crisis intervention, grief counseling, hotline services, outreach, and compensation assistance to thousands affected by this terrorist event.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania awarded funds received from OVC to one agency, the Network of Victim Assistance of Bucks County (NOVA), a program originally designed to provide services to victims of child abuse and adults victimized as children. NOVA received funds to establish a program of outreach and case management for victims and families directly affected by the terrorist attacks. NOVA was specifically selected based on its proximity to the largest concentration of identified victims and its organizational skills.

The Commonwealth of Virginia awarded funds from OVC to the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), its Governor-appointed state victim assistance agency, and the Arlington Employee Assistance Program. The DCJS was responsible for providing coordination services for victims and families of the attack at the Pentagon, and the Arlington Employee Assistance Program provided first responders (county firefighters) in the Northern Virginia area with crisis intervention and crisis counseling.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts used OVC funds to provide grants to 13 agencies throughout the Boston metropolitan and surrounding areas. Agencies funded included: Boston University Medical School; Mental Health Association of Greater Lowell; Merrimack Valley Hospice; the Children’s Room/A Rainbow of Healing; Cambridge Health Alliance; the Brockton Family and Community Resources; and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Funds were used to develop an information packet detailing services of all funded programs, organize and implement the Massachusetts Careline that ran during the week of September 11th, and create a listserv for agencies funded by this grant to share information. All agencies funded offered individual and/or group counseling, crisis intervention services, and/or peer support. Many grief groups were coordinated that focused on issues such as identifying natural support networks, developing coping strategies, and learning relaxation techniques. Groups have also focused on subsets of the victim population such as children who lost a parent and caregivers.

The State of New Jersey awarded funds from OVC to 10 agencies and organizations with experience in providing mental health services to various populations. Agencies such as the Department of Human Services/Division of Mental Health Services; Jewish Family and Vocational Service; Family and Community Services of Somerset County; Department of Law and Public Safety/Office of Employee and Organization Development; and the University Behavioral HealthCare/University of Medicine and Dentistry received funds to provide crisis counseling, crisis intervention, mental health counseling, and peer support groups for victims, family members, and first responders.

The State of California awarded funds to the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, its Governor-appointed state victim compensation agency. This agency established a new peer support program designed to build relationships among the victims, provide regional information, and support a series of debriefings for California victims.

In addition to state victim assistance and compensation programs, OVC awarded funding directly to nongovernmental, nonprofit organizations that provided timely mental health support to victims, crisis responders, and their families in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. OVC selected organizations that had not received funding from any other Federal Government source for their efforts. To identify such organizations, OVC staff coordinated with FEMA and victim assistance and compensation programs in the affected states to conduct outreach to organizations that fit this criteria.

The nongovernmental, nonprofit organizations that received direct funding from OVC provided various services to respond to the mental health needs of victims, crisis responders, and their families. Many agencies that received funding were onsite at Pier 94 in New York City and provided direct crisis intervention in various forms to thousands of distraught residents and victims’ family members searching for help and support. Some were onsite at Ground Zero providing spiritual care to rescue workers without regard to faith tradition, while others were staffing toll-free hotlines for victims and families to call and receive counseling support over the telephone. Many agencies coordinated and facilitated peer support groups as well as developed informational materials for victims and families to read to help them cope with the trauma. In all, nine grants were awarded totaling $437,940. See Appendix B for a list of grant recipients.

Among the organizations that provided these services were the Lutheran Disaster Response of New York, Free Arts for Abused Children of New York City, Parents of Murdered Children, and Spirit in Flight. Each organization reached out to victims and families, often focusing on first responders, others specifically on children, and one on members of the airline community who seemed to be often overlooked as victims in this tragedy.

Lutheran Disaster Response of New York offered mental health support, chaplaincy, and spiritual care without regard to faith tradition to all New York residents affected by September 11th and its ripple effects. They provided immediate and ongoing support for victims, rescue workers, and their families throughout the recovery effort. Free Arts for Abused Children provided art therapists to children at the Pier 94 Family Assistance Center, workshops for children at the elementary school closest to the World Trade Center, and support for children and families on the 1-year anniversary. Parents of Murdered Children, a nationally recognized victim advocacy group, provided crisis intervention, informational materials on grief, and peer support to victims, first responders, and their families.

OVC was also pleased to support Spirit in Flight, a nonprofit organization for flight attendants that provided peer support and assistance to their colleagues who suffered significant trauma as a result of the attacks. Many flight attendants from American Airlines and United Airlines lost friends and colleagues and continue to seek assistance and support. OVC funds were awarded to support a retreat in early 2003 for 30 to 50 flight attendants affected by the attacks. The retreat will provide an opportunity for flight attendants to meet others who have had similar experiences and to promote information exchange and peer support to allow them to continue helping each other.

Victim Assistance During Criminal Justice Proceedings

“At the initial phases there was much attention and assistance from the media and public enabling them [victims] to feel optimistic about their future. However, the later phases have begun to surface where many of the clients feel a sense of disillusionment and despair in the realization that nothing will ever be the same.”

— Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency

It is expected that victim focus may shift to trial-related activities when the trial occurs, which could create additional trauma for the victims. When Congress passed Public Law 107-206, directing that any remaining unexpended balances of funding appropriated under Public Law 107-117 be made available for other authorized programs in addition to counseling programs, this authorized OVC to fund other services and assistance for victims of the terrorist attacks. As in past terrorism trials, such as Oklahoma City, Pan Am 103, and the East Africa Embassy bombings, OVC made funds available to facilitate victim participation in criminal justice proceedings. OVC has received several inquiries regarding potential funding support for victim assistance services during the upcoming trial relating to the September 11th terrorist attacks.

As a result, the remaining $2.4 million plus has been set aside to provide support for the victims who will be participating in the trial. Most of the affected jurisdictions have begun planning for the type of assistance they hope to provide victims during the criminal justice proceedings. Coalitions of state and federal officials, victim advocates, and criminal justice and mental health personnel have been meeting to discuss roles and responsibilities for supporting victims during the trial. Among the types of services envisioned are the provision of onsite, daily mental health support services; on-call services available 24-hours a day to respond to mental health emergencies, including following up with victims who have returned home; and counseling and emotional support during the estimated 60-day trial. Once a determination is made regarding the location of the closed-circuit television sites, OVC will begin accepting applications from jurisdictions to create safe havens designed to provide secure, private places for victims and family members to seek respite throughout the trial.


“It became increasingly frustrating for the families to develop a rapport with emergency service providers, only to have that support disappear after a short period of time.”

— Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency

Efforts to give a full report on the impact of these funds have been somewhat hampered because many of the funded agencies and programs are providing ongoing services and assistance to victims. Preliminary data indicate that nearly 22,000 victims, crisis responders, and family members have been assisted with funding from OVC’s Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve which includes moneys from both the Crime Victims Fund and appropriated dollars authorized by the Department of Defense Appropriations Act. See Appendix C for a breakdown of victims served and amounts expended. However, these victim statistics may reflect duplication in counting because many victims sought services from more than one program receiving OVC funding. During this reporting period, state compensation programs report that they paid 1,742 claims for out-of-pocket expenses, such as lost wages, funeral expenses, mental health counseling, and medical costs. These claims totaled $11,041,283. They also report receiving 166 new claims for compensation benefits.

In addition, fund recipients report that the terrorist attacks generated greater cooperation between public and private partners, increased outreach efforts, and increased ongoing coordination and communication with multiple state and federal government agencies and service organizations. The impact of these funds reached not only the victims, but also the service providers, as reflected in numerous letters OVC received from these organizations.

Funds awarded to states and nonprofit organizations were critical to ensuring that victims had access to services without incurring additional expenses. In addition to supporting the establishment of successful working relationships, funds were instrumental in helping families develop positive methods of coping with the psychological and emotional effects of the terrorist acts; facilitating victim attendance at vigils, memorials, and debriefings; and providing ongoing counseling for both family members of victims killed in the terrorist attacks and first responders who spent countless days in the rescue and recovery efforts. For many victims, the availability of counseling services 6 months to 2 years later will prove beneficial as many victims did not seek counseling assistance until after the first anniversary. One funding recipient indicated “families have continued to access services from providers for issues as varied as support for day-to-day functioning to managing the identification of body parts and arranging funerals.” Many counselors and psychotherapists suggest that support is needed to assist victims in managing prolonged bereavement, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, substance abuse, and child-rearing difficulties. Victims have relied on the peer support groups for a place where they can talk openly about their feelings and grieve without shame or pressure.

One of the benefits of the funding is that jurisdictions were able to hire staff to facilitate counseling services and peer support groups and provide victims with consistency during the grief process.

Funds awarded to programs provided ongoing and continuous contact with the victims to ensure consistent availability of support and services which many victims identified as critical to rebuilding their lives. The California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board confirm this: “The comfort given by the chaplains who are at each meeting site is very important. Therefore, we continue to ensure that the chaplains are at each meeting to be available for spiritual guidance as needed. Because we continued to utilize the services of the same chaplains, the participants have developed relationships with them that are especially important during the peer support meetings which can be emotionally draining.”

Many victims affected had substantial third-party insurance benefits available to them for reimbursement of expenses. Many also were eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits greatly impacted the level of need for state compensation services and benefits. Recognizing that not all victims would meet state eligibility requirements to receive compensation benefits, the CVB took the extra step to ensure that victims received support and assistance from other sources. CVB trained all the coordinators and case managers of other agencies on the compensation application and eligibility requirements to ensure that all eligible individuals or family members receive counseling benefits their program covers.

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency reported that group counseling sessions were initiated to promote emotional processing, sharing, and social support. Strong bonds developed among the individuals in the group, which fostered feelings of gaining control.

Many people did not necessarily realize they needed assistance until they got to the nonfunctional point, the commission said. They noted that several survivors suddenly appeared with months of unopened mail, including unpaid bills, suddenly aware that their home and motor vehicle were in jeopardy of repossession.

Funding available from OVC’s Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve provided resources to support expanded program operations in an already overtaxed victim assistance environment. Follow-on funding made available under the Department of Defense Appropriations Act provided another avenue of assistance to deal with the long-term psychological and emotional needs of the victims and their family members.

The Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse Services, a funding recipient, anticipates providing some level of counseling to victims through 2005. The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services plans to help address the counseling needs of victims beyond 2005 by training crime victim advocates in crisis intervention and response to mass tragedies and by fostering greater connections across disciplines, such as public safety, victim advocacy, mental health, and spiritual and faith communities, to allow greater support and resource sharing.


“I don’t believe in counseling but having someone listen to what I’m going through has helped.”

— an employee/survivor who lost many friends and colleagues on September 11th

OVC’s ability to provide assistance to the victims following the terrorist attacks and direct funding resources to the affected jurisdictions contributed greatly to efforts to quickly assist victims. In less than 2 weeks, OVC awarded grants to New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia to address the immediate crisis needs of the victims and survivors. Within 24 hours, OVC set up a Call Center and a Travel Assistance Center to help victims with the most basic needs for information and transportation to reach deceased and injured victims. Shortly thereafter, OVC’s Hope and Remembrance Web site provided much-needed information and updates to the victims and survivors in the aftermath and through the first anniversary. OVC’s outreach to the nonprofit organizations that provided assistance to the victims and survivors without funding support from other sources helped restore these programs so they could use existing program resources to serve other crime victims. OVC applied lessons learned about precrisis planning and coordination from past experience with acts of terrorism to orchestrate a timely response to the September 11th victims and survivors. As a result of the September 11th terrorist attacks, OVC has the ability to operate a victim Call Center at 25 percent capacity within 30 minutes of a terrorist attack, to make travel and emergency assistance available to victims on the same day of an attack, and to provide victims with up-to-date information about resources and services via an Internet Web site within hours of an attack. Meanwhile, lessons learned from previous terrorist incidents will guide OVC’s efforts to provide needed victim assistance during the upcoming trial.

1 OVC’s Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve was reimbursed these amounts once funding was received under the Department of Defense Appropriations Act.

Meeting the Needs of the Victims of the September 11th Terrorist Attacks: Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2002 Report to Congress April 2003
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