Victim Needs

Please note that victims’ needs do not follow a specific or consistent timeline.  The phases below are an approximation of when victims are most likely to need these services and it is important to note that there is often overlap between the phases.

Short-term Needs (incident up to 9 months) – Crisis response stage
*The most effective interventions in the immediate phase are practical assistance and Psychological First Aid (PFA).

When setting up a Survivor Resource Centre or other crisis/short-term response intervention for victims and survivors, consider how you will address the following needs:

  1. Medical assistance
  2. Shelter / safe space to gather and wait for news about loved ones, if they are missing
  3. Food/Water
  4. Emotional Support / Connection to social supports
  5. Information and regular updates from the authorities about the ongoing investigation/recovery process
  6. Crisis Intervention / Psychological First Aid (early mental health supports to help survivors build adaptive capacities, decrease stressors, and reduce symptoms of trauma immediately following the terrorist incident)
  7. Consideration of cultural/spiritual needs
  8. Protection from media intrusion
  9. Denunciation of criminal actions and messages of empathy from political leaders and authorities
  10. Information about provincial/territorial compensation or financial assistance programs (some programs have 1 – 2 year time limits on applications so the process may have to be commenced; some have emergency financial assistance for funerals in the case of homicide)

Intermediate Needs (up to 18 months or longer) – Consequence management phase

  1. Continued information/updates from the authorities
  2. Physical rehabilitation and/or information about funeral services (identification of remains may take weeks or months or in some cases many years depending on the incident)
  3. Vocational rehabilitation
  4. Mental health supports to help victims recover from the traumatic event and to restore their sense of equilibrium.
  5. Consideration of cultural/spiritual needs
  6. Protection from media intrusion
  7. Information about provincial/territorial compensation or financial assistance programs
  8. Advocacy from NGOs for a variety of needs including assistance with insurance companies for issues related to damaged property, etc.

Long-term Needs (2+ years onward) – Recovery phase

  1. Information about provincial/territorial compensation or financial assistance programs
  2. Information about criminal justice system processes
  3. Support to deal with physical health consequences that may result from responding to an incident or living in close proximity to the incident
  4. Advocacy from NGOs
  5. Most people will recover from traumatic events like emergencies and disasters without professional intervention. However, some are likely to need additional support to help them cope. A small minority of people (10-20%) are at risk of developing significant mental health conditions and will require specialized mental health care. In some terrorist incidents, psychological services were provided to victims and survivors for decades following the incident.
  6. Memorials
  7. Empowering victims by connecting them with others who have suffered the same trauma and giving them an opportunity to give back to others
  8. Consideration of cultural/spiritual needs
  9. Protection from media intrusion on anniversaries