The VTA Task Force consists of representatives from the U.S. Departments of Justice and State, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who have policy development, investigatory, prosecutorial, and victim assistance-related responsibilities when an act of international terrorism affects U.S. citizens overseas. The VTA Task Force serves as a forum to coordinate and enhance the U.S. government response to those victims. A flow chart representing the basic coordination of the Task Force is demonstrated below. Individual offices may remain involved throughout the entire case, but this provides a representation of how the offices cooperate in their work for the benefit of U.S. citizens.
The U.S. Departments of Justice and State formally established the Victims of Terrorism Abroad (VTA) Task Force in September 2007, in compliance with a Congressional report. The VTA Task Force’s goals are:
- To ensure that the U.S. government response to U.S. citizen victims of terrorist attacks abroad continues to be a high priority within our agencies;
- To coordinate the U.S. government response to U.S. citizen victims of terrorist attacks abroad, especially in attacks involving multiple victims, to ensure efficiency, prevent redundancy, and provide victims with timely, compassionate assistance; and
- To ensure that victims receive the rights and services mandated by Federal law. These rights and services include: (1) information and crisis intervention services in a timely manner in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack; (2) information on available assistance, including the International Terrorism Victims Expense Reimbursement Program (ITVERP), and other forms of financial assistance and mental health counseling; and (3) information on the status of the investigation and any related criminal justice proceedings.