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Victim Assistance

BIA VICTIM ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (VAP)

The BIA Office of Justice Services established the victim services program specifically for victims located in Indian country. It was created in part due to unique challenges encountered when crimes occur in Indian country and to help fill the gap between the Federal and tribal court systems.

The BIA Victim Assistance Program offers direct services to victims including crisis intervention, referrals and information for mental and emotional health and other types of specialized responses, provide emergency services and transportation, and follow up for additional assistance. We can also facilitate an explanation of the investigative process, provide court accompaniment and support as needed.

IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF A CRIME

We want to provide you with a better understanding of how the Federal criminal justice system works.

During the investigation if you request, you will be kept informed on the status of your case. Criminal investigations can be both complex and lengthy, and can involve several federal and local agencies. Your interests are important to us, as is your cooperation and assistance with your case. Your case agent will remain your principal contact throughout the process. We encourage you to contact him or her if you have any questions.

VICTIM INFORMATION

As federal law enforcement and victim service professionals, we are concerned about the effects often experienced by victims of crime. We know that most people have at least some reaction to having been involved in a crime: anger, confusion and fear are some of those responses.

Other physical and emotional reactions may include:

Physical: shock, lack of energy, eating or sleeping difficulties, nausea, anxiety, sweating, rapid breathing, muscle tension, increased heart rate, headaches and nightmares.

Emotional: disbelief, shame, denial, depression, questioning of faith, sorrow, feeling powerless.

These reactions are normal and may eventually subside.

WHEN TO SEEK ADDITIONAL HELP

  • When your emotions feel dull or numb
  • When you are experiencing depression, anxiety or thoughts of harming yourself
  • When you cannot sleep for long periods of time
  • When you feel these reactions are interfering with your daily life functioning

If you feel overwhelmed by what has happened, now is the time to seek the help you need.

IF YOU ARE THREATENED OR HARASSED

If you are being threatened or harassed because of your cooperation with the investigation, contact your case agent immediately to discuss protective measures. It is a violation of federal law to threaten, harass or intimidate victims or witnesses of a crime.

CULTURAL RESILIENCE

Tribal communities are resilient relying upon ceremonies, culture, language, and traditions that bring individuals and community members together. Tribes support one another through ceremony, humor, kinship, and relationships and are able to use these practices to overcome adverse situations in their lives.

Cultural resiliency includes: Emotional, Mental, Physical and Spiritual well-being.

VICTIM’S RIGHTS AND RESTITUTION ACT (VRRA) 42 U.S.C. §10607

Pursuant to VRRA 42 U.S.C §10607 victims’ of a crime shall be afforded the following services upon request:

  • Reasonable protection from a suspected offender and persons acting in concert with or at the behest of the suspected offender;
  • Information concerning the status and general information about the case development of the investigation, to the extent that it is appropriate and will not interfere with the investigation;
  • Information regarding where they may receive emergency medical or social services;
  • Assistance in contacting persons responsible for providing services and relief;
  • Notification of the arrest or release of a suspected offender;
  • Notification of court proceedings;
  • Assistance in notifying the employer of the victim or witness if cooperation in the investigation of the crime causes his or her absence from work; and
  • Any property held for evidentiary purposes is maintained in good condition and returned to them as soon as no longer needed.

RESOURCES

Strong Hearts Native Helpline

Office for Victims of Crime-Help for Crime Victims

Office on Violence Against Women

Administration for Native Americans-Native Youth Toolkit on Human Trafficking

U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Native Communities Awareness Poster Series

U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Blue Campaign, Sex Trafficking Awareness Videos

U.S. Department of State-U.S. Government Entities Combating Human Trafficking in American Indian & Alaska Native (AI/AN) Communities

National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards

 

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