The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that victims of federal crime are treated fairly as their case moves through the criminal justice system.
In order to provide victims with information on case events, the Department of Justice has developed the Victim Notification System (VNS). This page will provide you with information about VNS.
Victim Notification System (VNS)
VNS is a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the United States Attorneys’ offices, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
This free, computer-based system provides two important services to victims: information and notification. This information is available in English and Spanish.
VNS can inform you of:
Information on scheduled court hearings.
An offender’s custody status, such as placement in community corrections centers, furlough, release, or death.
You will receive a Victim Identification Number (VIN) and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that will allow you to access the system. You may write those numbers on the attached tear-off card to keep with you.
If you have chosen to participate in VNS, but have not received these numbers, please contact either the federal law enforcement agency or the U.S. Attorney’s office handling your case.
Your VIN and PIN numbers are both required when receiving information or any time you contact the Call Center.
The VNS Call Center:
You may call 1-866-365-4968 for current defendant custody and court information. You will be required to enter your VIN and your PIN.
By following the prompts, VNS will provide custody information and notice of upcoming court events.
Aside from calling the VNS Call Center, you may choose to receive information on case events by telephone, E-mail, numeric pager, or fax.
Please note that in some instances, VNS may first contact you by phone.
Below are some common questions about VNS. If at any time you have a question about VNS that is not answered here, please feel free to contact your local FBI or U.S. Attorney’s office.
1. What if I forget my PIN?
If you cannot remember your VIN or PIN numbers, please contact the person indicated on your initial notification letter or the Victim-Witness Coordinator at your local U.S. Attorney’s office.
2. What if I am not at home or my phone is busy when VNS calls?
If you are not at home of if your telephone line is busy, the Call Center will continue calling you every 30 minutes. If the call is answered, but is not confirmed with your PIN number, VNS will continue to call every 2 hours.
3. When can I call VNS?
Monday - Friday 6:00 a.m. - 3:00 a.m.
Saturday 6:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
Sunday 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
For International Callers:
4. Does the Victim Notification System ensure my safety?
No. Do not depend on VNS to ensure your safety. If you feel that you are being threatened, immediately notify law enforcement.
5. What should I do if my contact information changes?
If your address or phone number changes, you may contact the VNS Call Center (1-866-365-4968 & provide your VNS VIN & PIN); the person indicated on your initial notification letter; or the Victim-Witness Coordinator at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
6. Must I receive notification?
If you do not wish to receive notification you may contact the VNS Call Center (1-866-365-4968 & provide your VNS VIN & PIN, Select Opt Out option); the person indicated on your initial notification letter; or the Victim-Witness Coordinator at the U.S. Attorney’s Ofc.
Victim Identification Number (VIN)
Personal Identification Number (PIN)
Not all relevant information regarding a case will be contained within VNS. Victims may contact the respective agency staff for additional information.
The FBI’s Victim Specialist will be in contact with you during the investigation stage of the case. Notifications which may be provided include the arrest of a suspect, whether the case is declined for prosecution, or whether the case is being referred to state or local authorities.
Prosecution: United States Attorneys’ Offices
Once criminal charges are filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office, a Victim-Witness Coordinator will be in contact with you. Notifications which the U.S. Attorney’s office may provide include the filing of charges, the scheduling of court proceedings, and the sentencing.
Incarceration: Bureau of Prisons
If a defendant is incarcerated at a federal prison, you will be able to receive information through the Federal Bureau of Prison’s Victim Notification program on release-related activities including community corrections center placement, furlough, parole hearings, escape, and death.