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).
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. Once you have been identified as a victim in a particular case, you will receive a notification letter with a Victim Identification Number (VIN) and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that will allow you to access the system. You should keep a copy of those numbers for future reference. Your VIN and PIN numbers are both required when receiving information or any time you contact the VNS Call Center.
VNS can inform you of:
- Information on scheduled court hearings but not on last minute changes to court hearings.
- An offender’s custody status, such as placement in community corrections centers, furlough, release, or death.
Investigation: FBI and Postal
The Investigative Agency’s Victim Specialist will be in contact with you during the investigation stage of the case. You will receive written notifications about 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, the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Victim-Witness Coordinator will be in contact with you. You will receive written notifications about the filing of charges, the scheduling of court proceedings, and sentencing/restitution.
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.
Not all relevant information regarding a case will be contained within VNS. Victims may contact the respective agency staff for additional information.
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 the U.S. Attorney’s
1. What if I forget my PIN?
You should keep a copy of your ID and PIN numbers. However, if you cannot remember your VIN or PIN numbers, please contact the person indicated on your initial notification letter or the Victim-Witness Staff.
2. 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:
3. 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 Staff at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
4. 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 Staff at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.