297: Kathryn Turman – Victim Services, Assistance and Support

In this episode, retired Assistant Director of the FBI Victim Services Division (VSD), Kathryn Turman reviews the victim service specialist position and the major cases and crisis events her staff has deployed to, providing assistance and support to victims around the world.

Kathryn Turman served in the FBI for 20 years. She was the head of the VSD from 2002 – 2020. Selected for the position by FBI Director Robert Mueller, she developed and led the FBI’s response to 9/11 victims, victims of more than 100 acts of terrorism overseas, and to more than 35 terrorism and mass violence events across the U.S.

Victim services professionals at the FBI inform, support, and assist victims in navigating the aftermath of crime and the criminal justice process with dignity and resilience.

Beginning with six employees in 2002, the FBI VSD is now comprised of almost 300 victim specialists, terrorism victim services coordinators, child/adolescent forensic interviewers, child victim services specialists, an international hostage family engagement team, and operational psychologists.







“One of the things I’ve learned working with victims and families of homicide and terrorism victims is they’re going to imagine what happened to their loved one. They’re going to want to know what happened.”—Kathryn Turman, Retired Assistant Director of the FBI’s Victim Services Division

During her Bureau career, Kathryn established a terrorism and mass violence Victim Services Response Team (VSRT) that has become an international model.
Prior to the joining the FBI, Kathryn served in the Department of Justice as Director of the Missing and Exploited Children’s Program, Chief of the Victim Witness Assistance Unit in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and Director of the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). She began her public service career as an aide to the late Senator John Heinz.

Kathryn received the Edmund J. Randolph Award, the highest honor provided by the Department of Justice, for her work with Pan Am 103/Lockerbie families. She received the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service, two National Crime Victims Service Awards, two National Intelligence Meritorious Citations, and is one of the few Federal employees to receive Presidential Rank Awards for both Meritorious and Distinguished Service.

Now retired and living in the Nashville area, Kathryn volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children.

The following are photos and links to articles and videos about the VSD:

FBI Website: Victim Services Division

FBI Website – 6/10/2020: ‘Empathetic Pioneer’ Retiring -Kathryn Turman

FBI Website: Rights of Federal Crime Victims

FBI Website – 10/25/2019: FBI Training Course Aims to ELEVATE Victim Services

FBI Website: FBI Crisis Response Canines


FBI Press release – 9/29/2023: FBI Dedicates Additional Investigative and Victim Specialist Resources to Indigenous Women and Children in Indian Country

Listen to these FBI Retired Case File Review episodes highlighting the work of victim services:

047: Richard Marquise – Lockerbie Bombing of Flight 103

226: Rod Swanson – Las Vegas Mass Shooting, Recovery Assistance

240: Richard Marx – Fresh Kills 9/11 Recovery Operation, Mass Casualties

The VSD assists victims in navigating the aftermath of crime.
The FBI VSD is now comprised of almost 300 professional staff members.
The FBI can deploy members of the VSD Reponse Team to terrorism and mass violence events around the world.
Wally and Gio, the FBI’s crisis response dogs, help victims cope with tragedy.









Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.

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