FBI Victim Specialists Provide a Lifeline to Crime Victims
During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week April 24-30, the FBI Springfield Field Office is raising awareness about crime victims’ issues and rights, and the role of an FBI Victim Specialist in assisting and supporting victims with resources and information.
The FBI’s victim assistance program was created in 2001 to ensure victims of crime and their families receive professional assistance throughout the duration of an investigation. Since then, the program has grown into a division that includes victim specialists, child/adolescent forensic interviewers, victim services coordinators who specialize in terrorism and mass casualty investigations, operational psychologists, and staff that manages the complex administrative functions of the division.
There are 255 full-time personnel located at FBI Headquarters and across the 56 field offices. Since its inception in 2001, the FBI’s victim assistance program has provided services—such as crisis intervention, emergency travel assistance, and local referrals for counseling, housing, and other services—to over 2 million victims and has conducted over 14,000 child/adolescent forensic interviews.
“In the case of crime victims, the FBI’s role extends far beyond an investigative interview. The FBI takes a victim-centered approach, committed to not only offering the help and resources they need, but also to protecting their privacy and securing their safety. Victim Specialists advocate for crime victims, ensuring they are provided the appropriate services—even the most basic of needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical attention—to assist in reducing the effects of trauma. Helping early on and through the course of the investigation is key to getting crime victims started on a healing path,” said FBI Springfield Field Office Special Agent in Charge David Nanz.
The FBI’s Victim Services Response Team (VSRT), designed to provide support for victims in large-scale events, has been deployed to crime scenes like the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada that resulted in 59 dead and 850 injured; the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 people died; and the mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that left 11 dead. Additionally, VSRT works with local agencies to reach out to people who were present but not injured at mass casualty events. They may be eligible to receive services, including counseling, and might also have information that can assist an investigation.
This website offers more information about the assistance and services the FBI provides victims of crime and their families.