The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that victims of federal crime are updated 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.
Click on the link below to download the VNS Brochure which is in PDF format:
VNS Brochure (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)
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.
- Information on scheduled court hearings.
- An offender's custody status, such as placement in community corrections centers, furlough, release, or death.
Not all relevant information regarding a case will be contained within VNS. Victims may contact the respective agency staff for additional information.
VNS Information Registration:
You will receive a Victim Identification Number (VIN) and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that will allow you to access the system.
Both your VIN and PIN numbers are required when accessing information on the website or if 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 the 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 is the VNS Call Center available?
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); or you may contact 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); or you may contact the person indicated on your initial notification letter; or the Victim-Witness Coordinator at the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Victim Specialist will be in contact with you during the investigation stage of the case if it is an FBI 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.
The United States Postal Inspection Service will be in contact with you during the investigation stage of the case if it is a Postal Service 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.
All other investigative agencies (Drug Enforcement Agency, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Secret Service, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Health and Human Services, Marshal’s Office, Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Labor, Department of Defense, Veteran’s Affairs, and other investigative agencies) do not participate in the VNS at this time. If you have a case with any agency other than the FBI and the Postal Service, please contact the agent assigned to the case for information.
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.
If a defendant is incarcerated in a federal facility, 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.