After the MVI initial response, it is important to address the immediate needs of the victims and survivors. There will be a variety of needs that must The Information & Notification Center will be transformed into a Family Assistance Center, which will be able to help victims and survivors get the services they need.
The Family Assistance Center (FAC) is a place everyone can gather. The FAC should remain open for several days, weeks or even a few months after the event. It is designed to offer information, resources, and a variety of services all in one location.
The FAC is typically a physical location where people can stop by to get information, meet with other survivors, and receive services. However, it is extremely helpful to have a website that people can access as well. Some victim/survivors will not come to a physical location and others do not live locally where the MVI occurred. Examples of this would be the Boston Marathon and the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest music festival.
Often law enforcement interviews will take place at the FAC as well, so try to find a space that can accommodate the various needs.
NOTE: First responders should have their own place to gather. Lean on your police and fire partners for available spaces.
Services that may need to be provided at a FAC include:
If you need helping finding contacts to fill any of these needs, contact AVAP at email@example.com.
A multi-disciplinary team (MDT) is a group of community leaders that represent various professions. This team can differ depending on what your community has available, and what population has been harmed during an MVI. This can be a formal or informal group working together to identify the unique needs of your community. Often, an MDT can include:
Typically, this group will meet every day at first (usually by phone) to do daily check-ins. The purpose of these calls is to reflect on the prior day's events, what needs to happen today, and plans for tomorrow.
A case navigator is a person who works with individuals to assess needs and offer helpful resources or tools. Ideally, each victim or family will be assigned their own Navigator, and each Navigator will focus on only one family. The Alaska Victim Assistance Partnership (AVAP) offers a statewide coordination team with trained navigators who can assist those harmed in your community. Navigators can also help communicate with Victim Services personnel to address any on-going matters pertaining to the criminal justice process. Lean on AVAP to help assign Case Navigators if your local community is overwhelmed or needs a break.
A quick note: It will be critical for Case Navigators to be able to debrief, take time off, and incorporate needed self-care. Establish opportunities for local Case Navigators to connect and support each other throughout the recovery process.
Within minutes, there will be a Public Information Officer (PIO) from the local law enforcement agency providing information to the media and the public. This information is the official information to various media sources that is accurate, timely, multilingual, and multicultural. It is important that the victims/survivors hear important information prior to being released to the public. Work hard to ensure there is efficient communication between your victim services team and the PIO.
Often the media will want to talk to various victims and family members. In Alaska, there are numerous PIO personnel from pubic safety and justice programs that network with each other. That means there is a pool of trained PIOs who can assist victims/survivors. To access this network of PIOs call the Anchorage FBI at 907-276-4441.
PIOs will discuss with the victims:
Follow this link for guidance from the Colorado Mass Violence Toolkit:
Money will begin to pour into various organizations accepting donations. The local jurisdiction should set up a specific place where people can donate funds or goods. Often friends and families will want to set up individual accounts for specific victims to help with costs. Donation management is very complex and needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
It is not the role of the victim advocate to oversee or manage donations made to individuals such as “Go Fund Me” accounts. Victim Advocates can assist victims and families in gathering needed items, but should refrain from being involved with the management of the fund.
Here are some things to consider:
There may be financial resources to manage short-term and long-term needs. These need to be identified as quickly as possible and may include:
There may be a planned vigil or vigils that are more spontaneous. It is helpful if victim advocates can attend a vigil to be able to offer support to the victims, families and community members. Law enforcement should be there to provide safety and security for the participants.
Work with local faith-based leaders to coordinate the vigil. Here are some best practices that have been developed from mass violence incidents:
re-traumatize victims of the mass violence incident.
Click on the photo for more information about your role as Victim Service Coordinator.
Victim Advocates have a difficult job and self-care is important. Be familiar with the local recourses that are available to help you deal with the trauma that has occurred.
Compassion fatigue is a broadly defined concept that can include emotional, physical, and spiritual distress in those providing care to another. It is associated with caregiving where people are experiencing significant emotional or physical pain and suffering (Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project).
Find out more at the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project.
NMVVRC Self-Help Tools you can find helpful resources on:
Click here for to access the link: https://www.nmvvrc.org/survivors/self-help/
When you have the immediate needs handled, begin discussing the long view of support and what will be needed.