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Preparing for the Needs of Secondary Victims in School Violence Incidents

NCJ Number
Kelly R. Buck, Ph.D.
Date Published
8 pages
This article presents a framework for dealing with the needs of secondary victims of school violence incidents.
As with any violence incidence, but especially those that occur at schools, the number of victims extends far beyond those who are injured or killed. Secondary victims from these events often include teachers, administrators, school staff, emergency responders, and the students who were not injured and their parents. This article presents a framework for having a strategy in place to deal with the needs of these secondary victims. This strategy includes the establishment of crisis planning teams. These teams work with those who may be affected by these situations to consider all possible school violence scenarios and the possible experiences of the victims in order to respond appropriately to the victims' needs. These teams should be responsible for developing crisis plans and distributing them to the appropriate people including law enforcement, fire and rescue personnel, school administrators and teachers, and parents and students. For these plans to be effective at responding to victims of school violence incidents, they need to be rehearsed and understood by all interested parties. The crisis plans should also include guidelines for working with the media who can often be a source of support for victims and their families. By knowing addressing the range of victims that result from school violence incidents, schools and communities can be better prepared for ensuring that their responses to these situations will benefit all those involved.