Publié 28/02/2024|Modifié 18/01/2024

Crisis services


The Prime Minister can decide to activate the Cross-Government Victim Support Unit (CIAV — Cellule Interministérielle d’Aide aux Victimes) when a terrorist attack, which occurred on French territory, resulted in a large number of victimes. The unit is led by the head of the CDCS.
The CIAV acts as the institutional contact for victims and their families during the emergency phase. The CIAV gathers all the information concerning the status of the victims in real time, informs and provides support to their loved ones and coordinates the actions of all intervening government ministries, in liaison with the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The CIAV operates under the Crisis Centre (CDCS) of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs It consists of multidisciplinary and inter-ministerial teams, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Affairs, the Compensation Fund for Victims of Acts of Terrorism and Other Offenses (FGTI), and authorized NGOs (France Victimes, and Fenvac and the AFVT).
In the event that the CIAV is activated, a dedicated phone line is opened and its number is communicated via all means in the traditional media and social media.
The CIAV sets up dedicated reception centers for victims and their loved ones (CAF — Centre d’Accueil des Familles), to allow them to provide information, receive information about the missing person, take advantage of tailored psycho-traumatic support and, if necessary, provide information needed for the ante-mortem unit. The CIAV also maintains a presence with forensic medicine facilities to receive families.
If an event occurs in France outside of Paris, the Cross-Government Victim Support Unit provides a team to the prefect to help aid and assist victims and their loved ones and set up a reception center for victims and their loved ones.


In the event of a terrorist attack on French territory, the department’s prefect may activate Pubic Information Unit (CIP — Cellule d’Information du Public) phone bank to provide reliable and personalized information to callers, disseminate behavioral instructions, gather information, and redirect calls, if required.
The CIP works directly with the department’s operational center and can gather all information helpful to identifying victims.
The CIP is an information, communication and crisis management tool. It is closed by decision of the department's prefect once the situation has been stabilized and secured, and the identification and care of victims has been assured.


Various reception centers may be opened to care for victims and their families when an attack has occurred.
  1. Close to the site of the event, a Reception Center for the Persons Involved (CAI — Centre d’Accueil des Impliqués) can be opened very quickly to receive and bring together all non-physically wounded persons or persons in close proximity to the attack. The CAI will count, identify and comfort all involved and particularly those who fled the scene of the attack. They will be cared for by the Medical and Psychological Emergency Services Unit or directed to a healthcare facility, depending on the case.
  2. The purpose of the Family Reception Center (CAF — Centre d’Accueil des Familles)is to enable persons looking for a loved one who could be a victim of the attack to notify authorities about the missing person, receive information about the missing person, take advantage of tailored medical and psychological support and, if needed, provide the information needed by investigative services for identification.The CAF is generally operational within a few hours of the event. Various services contribute to its operation, in particular the prosecutor's office, police and gendarme investigation services, the Emergency Medical and Psychological Unit, NGOs approved by civil safety, and staff from French prefectures and communities. CAF teams work directly with forensic medicine institutes and the Cross-Government Victim Support Unit.