|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||OVC||THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 1999||202/307-0703|
ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO STRESSES NEED FOR COORDINATED RESPONSE TO ASSIST VICTIMS OF TERRORISM
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney General Reno stressed the importance of a coordinated response to assist victims of terrorism and mass violence today at the second National Symposium on Victims of Federal Crime. The symposium, sponsored by the Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and organized by the National Organization for Victim Assistance, brings together various federal agency representatives to improve services for victims of federal crime.
"It's not enough to plan to respond to the physical and criminal aspects of terrorism," said Reno. "We must also work together with our state and local counterparts to be prepared to address the terrible emotional and psychological impact of these crimes, which can extend for many years."
Reno emphasized that, by sharing information, federal agencies can develop strategies to coordinate their resources to better serve victims. The Attorney General also talked about the need to ensure that victims' issues are fully incorporated into every federal response plan and that those plans include coordination among first responders, law enforcement, victim services, mental health professionals, clergy and the media.
The conference, which began on Monday and will run through Friday, is providing training for over 900 federal criminal justice personnel, victim-witness coordinators and social service providers from a broad range of federal agencies, military installations and U.S. Attorney's Offices with statutory duties for handling criminal cases and responsibilities toward federal crime victims. A special "agency day," offered for the first time this year, will provide an opportunity to improve communications and strategies within agencies.
"OVC is proud to have been part of the federal effort to respond to victims of the several recent terrorist attacks," said Acting OVC Director Kathryn Turman. "But, we still have much to learn about the lasting impact of terrorism on victims and on communities. This symposium will provide a high standard of training on this and other topics of emerging importance in our work with crime victims."
Monday's program included remarks by Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder on children exposed to violence, a federal victim panel and plenary sessions on lessons learned from the Oklahoma City bombing. Today's program focused on domestic terrorism and mass casualty response.
To learn more about OVC and its programs, visit the Office for Victims of Crime Website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc or the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov. Or, call the Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center at 800/627-6872.
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After hours contact: Linda Mansour on 202/616-3534 or page on 516-6843