In 2015, the SFDA Victim Services Division set out to create a plan for deploying and utilizing the resources of our division in the event of a mass casualty, active shooter or terrorist event. In our role, we bring resources to victims, their loved ones, and witnesses of violent events.
The Victim Services Mass Casualty Critical Response Team, comprised of trained and multilingual advocates are deployed by request from the Department of Emergency Management, Department of Public Health, San Francisco International Airport, Department of Human Services, or Law Enforcement. The Unit works with other San Francisco Departments and Agencies to fill gaps in victim support following mass casualty incidents. The goal is to provide a unified response for victims of mass violence for both the immediate, short-term and long-term trauma they will face.
In 2020, nine Bay Area counties renewed an expanded Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that allows these counties to request shared resources and personnel in the event of a mass casualty. This agreement includes San Francisco, Alameda, Sonoma, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, San Joaquin, Solano, and Santa Cruz counties.
Our unit provides the following services in response to mass crime:
- Assists with tracking of loved ones/missing persons
- Assists with staffing Family Assistance Center
- Provides immediate and short-term emotional support to victims, survivors, witnesses, and loved ones
- Provides information about services and resources for victims
- Connects those affected by the event to resources for immediate, short-term, and long-term recovery.
- Provides criminal justice system support by assisting victims during trials, helping organize memorial events, providing updates on court proceedings, etc.
- Assists with completing crime victim compensation applications