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Responding to Terrorism and Mass Violence at Home and Abroad

Responding to Terrorism and Mass Violence at Home and Abroad

The threat of terrorism and mass violence has increased in recent years in the United States and abroad. The emotional impact of such crimes can be devastating, leaving victims and emergency personnel in urgent need of services to reduce the immediate trauma they experience as well as to provide long-term assistance to help restore a sense of normalcy to their lives. After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, Congress amended VOCA to authorize OVC to set aside up to $50 million annually for an Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve fund, which has helped ensure that victims get the assistance they need without diverting funds from ongoing, standard victim services. The Reserve supports the following programs:

  • The Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP) offers multiple avenues of assistance to victims and communities responding to acts of terrorism and mass violence. Since the program began in 2002, more than $65 million has been allocated for crisis counseling, temporary housing, and emergency transportation, among other assistance. In 2008, OVC provided $3 million to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) to facilitate the recovery and support of its students, faculty, and staff and their friends and families, in the wake of the tragic shootings that occurred there.

  • The International Terrorism Victim Expense Reimbursement Program (ITVERP)was authorized by Congress to reimburse eligible victims of international terrorism that occurs outside the United States for out-of-pocket expenses associated with the crime. Since its implementation in October 2006, ITVERP has processed 39 claims.

  • The Crime Victim Assistance Emergency Fund works in conjunction with ITVERP. It is administered by the FBI, with OVC reimbursing the bureau for the funds it pays to victims. The fund assists U.S. nationals and federal employees who are victims of terrorism and mass violence occurring outside the United States who need emergency assistance but lack the resources to obtain the help they need on their own.

  • The Victim Reunification Travel Program (VRT) provides funds to help left-behind parents in international child abduction cases. Support under this program is provided via an intra-agency authorization with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and an OJJDP grant to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In FYs 2007–2009, 100 requests for support were received for cases that involved 137 children in 34 countries.

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