Good Practice 1: Ensure effective and appropriate coordination among concerned bodies responsible for the provision of direct assistance to victims and their families.
Specific, established coordination is vital to provide specialized, prompt, and efficient support for victims from the outset of the attack through the long-term attack impact. Official coordination can ensure the victim response meets professional and ethical standards and fosters the recovery process, and could include, for example, personnel with special training in the following areas: psycho-social (social workers), medical, legal, forensic, and financial process experts, among others.
Such official coordination can operate with a goal of providing a comprehensive, integrated response to victim needs resulting from the terrorist attack. Governmental coordination should involve first responders, law enforcement, prosecution agencies, courts, corrections, victim assistance units, health professionals, and relevant organizations from civil society, including victims’ organizations and other relevant nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector.
In addition to providing coordination, governmental authorities could also provide policy guidance on victim issues in general, which can include drafting, implementing and monitoring compliance with protocols addressing issues ranging from immediate action at the moment of the attack to achieving normalized social integration or a new normal life for victims.2
Good Practice 2: Encourage State actions that are focused on victim needs and consistent with a set of guidelines.
States could identify guidelines to inform their actions. Some general guidelines could include: (1) immediacy—intervening as soon as possible; (2) accessibility—making assistance convenient and available to victims (which in some cases may mean acting as closely as possible to the attack location as is safe, or using technology to communicate with victims unable to travel or who are in other countries); (3) simplicity—using quick and simple methods adapted to the situation, recognizing that traumatized individuals may be feeling emotionally overwhelmed; (4) unity—identifying an official point of contact for the victims, according to the internal legal system, in case they would like to benefit from assistance; and (5) resiliency— highlighting the positive aspects of the victims’ previous environment or role, thus helping their self-esteem and their coping strategies; and (6) comprehensive assistance—taking into consideration all the particular needs of the victims in each stage, according to the different types of injuries or damages suffered.
Good Practice 3: Enact a legal framework for provision of victim services and rights. As appropriate and consistent with its domestic legal system, States are encouraged to enact legislation establishing minimum standards for providing services to victims of terrorism within the national legal system. States are encouraged to also enact legislation establishing rights and roles for victims during the criminal justice process. States are encouraged to ensure basic training, and where appropriate, in-service training for the benefit of stakeholders in the response to a terrorist attack, to better meet the needs of victims of terrorism.
Good Practice 3b: States may also consider providing financial assistance and other forms of reparation, including financial compensation, for victims of terrorism.
Compensation measures could be established through the appropriate national schemes and subject to domestic legislation, including, inter alia, financial assistance and compensation for victims of terrorism and their close family members. Depending on the provisions of the national legal system, States may wish to consider the establishment of a special state fund or an insurance model dedicated to the compensation of victims of terrorism independent of the course of the judicial process. Victims should be informed about and assisted with applications for any available financial assistance, including compensation.
Good Practice 3c: States may consider, on request, technical as well as financial support to states dealing with the challenges of providing multi-disciplinary assistance to victims of terrorism
2 The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy calls on states to consider putting in place, on a voluntary basis, “national systems of assistance that would promote the needs of victims of terrorism and their families and facilitate the normalization of their lives.” UN General Assembly Resolution 60/288 (Sept 2006), Plan of Action, Sec. 1, Para 8.