U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Unexpected Challenges for Communities After Mass Violence

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2020
3 pages

This tip sheet from the National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center identifies and briefly discusses some unanticipated challenges faced by communities in the aftermath of a mass violence incident (MVI).


After briefly describing each of five unanticipated challenges in the aftermath of a MVI, solutions for each challenge are listed. One unanticipated issue is the offers of help through various communications from around the world. Examining and responding to these offers requires a substantial amount of time and resources that may hinder response efforts. In responding to offers of help, governmental and community agencies and organizations may collaborate to establish one point of contact to receive and manage these efforts. This will require staffing and equipment, access to information, and communication lines to community leaders. Criteria for receiving and assessing the offers of help are suggested. A second and related unanticipated challenge is addressing frauds and scams that can further victimize survivors and the public in the aftermath of an MVI. This can include fake victim appeals for financial help with various costs, which may include fake GoFundMe accounts. Among suggested solutions are to work with online companies to identify fraudulent websites and accounts. Another unanticipated challenge addressed is well-intended, but unnecessary fund solicitation. Such offers, although legitimate, can be problematic, since they are not coordinated with a centralized, organized response. This may lead to duplication and an unanticipated need for personnel and financial resources to ensure efficiency, fairness, and effectiveness. Another unanticipated challenge addressed by the Tip Sheet with solutions is entitled, "Hoaxers, Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists," which undermines authentic needs assessment and genuine solicitation for resources.