The HSI Victim Assistance Program (VAP) is a central piece of HSI’s victim-based approach to investigations into crimes of victimization and exploitation. The VAP responds to victim issues in a wide range of federal crimes, including human trafficking, child exploitation, child sex tourism, financial scams targeting the elderly and other vulnerable populations, white collar crime and human rights abuses. The VAP provides a critical resource to HSI investigations and criminal prosecutions by ensuring that victims have access to the rights and services to which they are entitled by law, as well as the assistance they need so that they can participate actively and fully in the criminal justice system process. Additionally, the VAP develops and maintains policy concerning victim-related issues and provides training and technical assistance to HSI special agents.
- Provides overall guidance on victim assistance, including training and technical assistance, and monitors compliance with federal crime victim assistance statutes. These include the Attorney General Guidelines for Victims and Witness Assistance, Violence Against Women’s Act of 1994, Victims of Crime Act of 1984, Crime Victims’ Rights Act of 2004 and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
- Provides forensic interview support to HSI special agents in furtherance of criminal investigations in which victims are involved. The program also offers case consultation and coordination services, as well as other technical assistance and training to special agents regarding all issues related to victim and witness interviews.
- Provides timely access to a wide range of local resources from as early as the investigative stage to prosecution. This process fosters cooperation between law enforcement and the victim while building trust and rapport.