Victim/Witness Assistance Program
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives (ATF) is responsible for investigating
and reducing federal crimes involving firearms
and explosives, acts of arson, and illegal
trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products.
Part of ATF’s responsibilities includes providing
information and assistance to victims of those
crimes. Crime can have a devastating effect on
victims and their families, and they may need
help to cope with the impact of the violent crime.
ATF Victim/Witness Specialists are available to
assist you and to coordinate with other agencies
in providing you with support, information, and
resources that can effectively meet your needs.
A federal investigation can be both complex
and lengthy. It may involve several agencies
from federal and local law enforcement. This
brochure provides information to help answer
some of the questions and issues that often arise
during an investigation. It describes your rights
under federal law and the types of services that
may be available to you. Please contact your
ATF Victim/Witness Specialist if you have any
ATF Victim/Witness Specialists and Agents will
make their best effort to ensure you are afforded
your rights as outlined in United States Code 42
§10607. During the investigative stage crime victims
have several rights, among which is to be treated
with fairness, dignity, respect and privacy.
Additional rights during the investigative stage
w The right to be informed of the place to receive
emergency medical and social services, public
and private programs that provide counseling,
treatment, and other support to the victim;
w The right to receive reasonable protection from
a suspected offender and persons acting in concert
with or at the behest of the suspected offender;
w The right to know the status of the investigation
of the crime to the extent it is appropriate and will
not interfere with the investigation;
w The right to notification regarding the arrest of
a suspected offender; and
w The right to have any property being held for
evidentiary purposes be maintained in good
condition and returned to the victim as soon as
it is no longer needed for evidentiary purposes.
Victim Rights and Restitution Act under
Federal Law United States Code 42 § 10607:
Threats or Intimidation
Your safety is of utmost importance. If anyone
threatens you, or you feel that you are being
intimidated because of your cooperation with this
investigation, or if you believe you are in imminent
danger, contact your local law enforcement agency
immediately. In addition, you should contact the
ATF Case Agent and inform them of the situation.
There are legal penalties for harassment and other
threats; it is imperative that you report any incident
as soon as possible.
Support Services for Victims of Crime
All states have crime victim compensation programs
that may help cover specific expenses resulting from
violent crimes. Victim compensation is available
for victims of both federal and state violent crimes.
Your state program may pay for medical and mental
health care costs, lost wages and funeral / burial
expenses not covered by insurance or other benefits.
The ATF Victim/Witness Specialist may be able
to provide additional assistance such as referrals to
other types of programs and services: information
for emergency housing, mental health counseling,
support groups, and credit counseling services.
If the offender in your case is convicted or pleads
guilty, the court may order the offender to make
restitution payments which may help cover expenses
and losses caused by your victimization.
If an Arrest Is Made
As the investigative agency ATF will make every
effort to notify you when a suspect is apprehended.
If criminal charges are filed, you will be notified by
the U.S. Attorney’s Office of any court related case
events. Each U.S. Attorney’s Office has a Victim/
Witness Specialist to provide you with further
assistance through the judicial process.