*Presenting: Mass Violence Responses

Anita Ahuja, Mary Vail WareConstitution Hall Room 2

Presentation One

Mass Violence Response: Collaborations Between State and County Responders and Behavioral Health Partners

Abstract: This presentation will provide information on state and local responses to prior mass violence incidents and effective collaborations with behavioral health partners. The incidents include shootings at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, the Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, the Inland Regional Center shooting in San Bernardino, the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting in Gilroy and the September 11th attacks.

Best practices for behavioral health connections during emergency management planning processes, while deploying and responding to an incident, and building partnerships with key stakeholders for long-term resiliency efforts will be highlighted. The value of victim forums, service provider forums and grant-funding will be addressed. The presentation will also cover the needs of first responders.

Engagement with worker's compensation providers, trauma recovery centers and non-profit organizations will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on trauma-informed practices and assessments.

This presentation will also cover the recommendations and checklists from the federal Office for Victims of Crime Mass Violence Response Toolkit for the planning, response and recovery phases.


Anita Ahuja

  • Pronouns: she/her/hers
  • Title: Director, Victim/Witness Program, Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, County of Maui
  • Bio: Anita Ahuja has responded to mass violence incidents for twenty-two years. Her background includes serving as the Manager for Mass Violence Response and Grant Programs and Ombudsperson for Crime Victims with the California Victim Compensation Board where she focused on mass violence emergency response planning and meeting the short and long-term needs of victims of mass violence in California. In that capacity, she responded to victims of multiple incidents including the September 11th attacks, the 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting in Las Vegas. the Borderline Bar shooting in Thousand Oaks, the Chabad House Synagogue shooting in Poway as well as the Gilroy Garlic Festival and Valley Transportation Authority shootings in Santa Clara County and other California incidents. She also managed federal crisis response grants for some of these incidents.
    Ms. Ahuja is a mass violence response consultant for the federal Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center. In this capacity, she has assisted the States of Hawaii and Arizona with facilitating stakeholder meetings and creating State mass violence emergency response plans. Most recently, she was deployed to Uvalde to assist with the response to victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting and is currently assisting with the response to the incidents in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, California.
    She currently serves as Director of the Victim/Witness Program for the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney in Maui County where she directs program services for victims of crime on the islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai.
    Ms. Ahuja is a co-founder of the National Leave No Victim Behind Conference series which focuses on serving victims of mass violence. Her credentials include an M.A. in Counseling Psychology and a B.A. in Political Science and Rhetoric.

Presentation Two

Mass Violence and the Evolution of Response

Abstract: As mass violence has become more prevalent, response needs as well as response capacity has shifted. This workshop will discuss these changes and available resources to build sustainable pathways to healing for victims, survivors, first responders, and communities.


Mary Vail Ware, MSW, PMP

  • Title: Director of OVC TTAC
  • Bio: Mary Vail Ware, MSW, PMP is ICF’s Senior Director of Justice and Victim Services. She leads the following contracts/grants: Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC), Bureau of Justice National Training and Technical Assistance Center, the International Terrorism Victim Expense Reimbursement Program, and the Improving Community Response to Victims of Mass Violence Training and Technical Assistance Project. She is Project Director for OVC TTAC. OVC TTAC provides victim-centered, trauma-informed training and technical assistance, and mass violence response for organizations/communities across the U.S. It is the home of the National Elder Fraud Hotline. Ms. Ware responded to the 9/11 Pentagon attack, the 4/16 Virginia Tech shooting, the Orlando Pulse shooting, the Las Vegas shooting, the Oxford High and MSU shootings,  the Highland Park parade shooting, among others. She authored first in the nation legislation requiring Virginia emergency plans to include protection of crime victims’ rights.
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Sun 12:00 am - 12:00 am
100 max
crisis response, day two, mass violence, presentation, streaming