Community Response

Community Response

After a disaster financial support, health care provision, partnership development, and communication/coordination support is needed by communities. Communities should have the capacity to deliver necessary services to their citizens. This web page should assist victim advocates in communities in identifying and building out their community response to an incident. 

Identifying Victims and Needs

There may be additional victims who were not immediately identified because they left the scene of an incident to seek medical care on their own, go to a safe location, or go home to be with family and friends. There are a number of things to think about when not all victims are immediately identified.

Some primary victims, victims who are directly impacted by a crime/disaster and are often easily identified, may leave the scene and not surface for hours or days later. Primary victims may also be family members of those killed during an incident. Families of those injured are considered secondary victims. Families and friends may fill out a form provided by the coroner or law enforcement that can be correlated with those who were killed at the crime scene. Call centers are also important for reporting missing family members and friends. 

Needs differ between families who have lost loved ones and those who have had loved ones injured. The needs of these two populations are different as well. Furthermore, individuals impacted by an event may not be from the local area, so they will need to be connected with local agencies and services in their own area when they return home. Depending on the needs of an individual, separate briefings should be done.

One resource to consider is the development of Family Assistance Center. Family Assistance Centers are designed to provide services and information to the family members of those killed and injured, as well as those people otherwise impacted by the incident. To learn more about family assistance centers, please download the Family Assistance Center (pdf, 91.5 KB) document.

Financial Considerations

Financial support is an important aspect of community response to a crime. Crime Victim Compensation (CVC) can be utilized for commensurable crimes. However, CVC can only assist with statutorily allowed losses. If you are unsure if a CVC is a resource, please contact the CVC Administrator directly. You can learn more about victims compensation by visiting the victims compensation web page as well. For a quick guide to Long Term Crime Victims Compensation, you may also wish to download and examine the Victim Compensation (99.8 KB) document which highlights relevant information for first responders, service providers, and CVC administrators. 

Private donations are another thing to consider during and after a mass crisis. It is common that people will want to donate funds to help provide services to the victims of a crime or disaster. However, these people sometimes do not know where to donate their funds. Families and friends of the victims may also set up individual funds for specific victims to help with a variety of costs. To learn more about private donation considerations, please download the Private Donations document (pdf, 79.2 KB).

Community Trauma and Recovery

Information needs to be distributed to the community which can help people identify their physical and mental health needs. Easily accessible resources should assist community members in accessing the information they need after a disaster. Some ideas of how to distribute this information include:
  1. Development of on-line programs for community members to judge their own mental health needs. The Aurora Mental Health Center provides an example of such a resource.
  2. Create a website with available resources and contacts for community members. 
  3. Provide mental health services to the community. More information on this is included in this pdf download (pdf, 80.7 KB).
  4. Distribute media releases.
  5. Provide flyers and fact-sheets to the community.
  6. Establish a community meeting place for the short term. 
  7. Examine the possibility of a long term resiliency center.

Mental Health Needs

Assessing and treating the mental health needs of individuals is an important aspect of community response after a crime/disaster. However, mental health needs will differ based on the particular needs of an individual and population. For instance, many survivors might initially reject mental health services. As such, having mental health resources available to individuals at any stage is an important component of case management. To learn more about how to provide mental health resources to community members following an incident, download the Mental Health Considerations document (pdf, 235 KB).

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Effective partnerships among community members is a vital part of an effective community response to a disaster. Learn more about community partnerships by visiting the partnerships web page.  CommunicationCommunication and coordination during and after an incident is an invaluable resource to victims/survivors of a disaster. Learn about different communication and coordination opportunities by visiting the communication and coordination web page.