The National Victim Assistance Academy
Christine Edmunds, Mario Gaboury  -  2008/8/13
Pls clarify the importance and role of victim's rights and services training in the development of prevention edcuation information and outreach. Too often, the public overlooks the value of what we learn during cases and how it should be a driving force in the types of prevention education learnings and messages. That said, we must also be cautious and respectful NOT to re-victimize victims, survivors and their families. The difficulty is navigating our learning to fulfill one of greatest needs for survivors: their hope that their post-crime efforts will prevent the same type of crime from happening to others. Similarly, funding has historically been parceled out by "prevention ed OR victim assistance versus both", which re-enforces larger gaps in understanding and approaches.
1.  Mario Gaboury
 You are asking a very interesting question that harkens back to the beginning of the VOCA programs. We absolutely need to keep both prevention and services in mind and each area should support the other, particularly in that we know victims and survivors have long expressed their desire for both personal and general crime prevention. The difficulty does come with funding mechanism. There was great concern at the beginning of the VOCA Crime Victims Fund that monies needed to be guaranteed for direct services. There also were existing funding mechanisms for prevention, for example OJJDP, and prevention initiatives such as the National Crime Prevention Council. Given this, victim service agencies interested in prevention need to develop multiple funding streams to support these various efforts. However, I completely agree that we need to have both types of programs available and that we need to honor victims and survivors with good prevention programs. The NVAA can assist in that there is current information about victims advocacy and services that can assist prevention program developers.
Over the last decade I have witnessed first hand the struggles Victim Advocates have endured to acquire the respect and compensation we deserve. What is being done to enhance our profession?
1.  Vli
 In our state the Crime Victims Ombudsman in the Governor's Office, Hope Blackley, and a committee of others has gotten a law passed requiring advocates to have 12 units of continuing education each year. I believe this is a great first step toward the professionalization of this field. Think about what most people consider a professional. It is usually someone with specific education and training in a specific field. It is not what a lot of people want to hear but to be considered a professional in most fields you usually have to have a degree. To be taken seriously we have to be willing to do the work, set criteria and standards and make sure they are enforceable.
2.  christine
 Greg, great to hear from you and to know you are working as a victim advocate in the field! Many things are being done across the nation to build our profession. OVC has sponsored the National Victim Assistance Academy for over a decade and with OVC support over 30 states have created state academies. OVC also funded the development of standards for the field and has supported training for criminal justice professionals across the nation. The National Organization for Victim Assistance has developed a National Advocate Credentialing Program, and OVC has also supported the development of a 40 hr online training program -VAT. I am attaching some web site links to provide more info. After this discussion today you can still ask questions and we will answer. Thanks for joining this discussion. Chris NVAA - - NVAA FAQ’s - - NVAA Foundation Level Curriculum (participant and instructor) - - SVAA Locator - - VAT Online - - OVC's Training Schedule for Victim Service Providers - - Victim Service Provider Standards and Certification Issues Guest Host Session -
Could you please tell us about the leadership track for the NVAA? When will the next NVAA be held?
1.  Mario Gaboury
 You can find a great deal of information about the NVAA on the OVC-TTAC Website at and at their FAQ page at Track 3, the Leadership Institute is described as helping administrators and leaders build and refine the necessary skills to effectively manage their programs. The courses are specifically designed to help victim service administrators and leaders develop and refine their skills and abilities to manage and sustain their victim service programs. Track 3 is 5 days. Chris will add more to this answer.
How are the states doing about certifying or credentialing their victim specialists? Do you assist the Roper Victim Assistance Academy in Maryland with its curriculum and development?
1.  Mario Gaboury
 A recent OVC Web Forum dealt with the topic of credentialing and you can access that topic at: The Roper Victim Assistance Academy is an excellent example of the OVC SVAA initiative. Information about the SVAAs can be found at: Most SVAAs have based much or part of their curriculum on the NVAA curriculum. However, there is a great deal of flexibility to adapt the training to their specific state training needs. The Roper Academy, like the other SVAAs, will have access to the NVAA Track 1 materials if they wish to use them. Also, the SVAA's get great support from OVC-TTAC.
I've attended my state SVAA, so which track would be most appropriate for me at the next NVAA?
1.  Mario Gaboury
 Most SVAA's have similar content to the NVAA, although there are some differences and SVAA's are, obviously, more state specific. Given that you have attended an SVAA you would be eligible, and it would probably be appropriate for you, to attend Track 2 next. These specialized trainings are more advanced than the fuindational NVAA/SVVA's. If you are in a leadership position, such as executive director or a supervisor,then the managerdirector-level offerings in Track 3 might be interesting nad appropriate. You can find information on each track by clicking on each track at:
What are the costs associated with attending the NVAA?
1.  Mario Gaboury
 Academy Fees are posted by OVC at:
Is the National Advocate Credentialing Program similar to CEU's?
1.  christine
 NOVA's National Advocate Credentialling Program (NACP) is a wonderful opportunity for advocates in the field to receive certification as a victim advocate. There is excellent information about the program at NOVA's website -- I meet advocates across the country who are attending trainings to work towards receiving the certification. You will need to contact NOVA about CEU's. Exciting news is that for the first time the NVAA will be offering CEU'S for the foundation level (track 1). Please contact OVCTTAC.Gov for information about the CEU's.
Maine/NH VAA is taking a close look at the structure and delivery methods of our curriculum. I am intrigued by the new NVAA curriculum. How would you recommend a program explore which models will best fit the advocates in their state(s)? We are planning to conduct a needs assessment, but I am wondering what other data will be important in crafting the design of our academy.
1.  Mario Gaboury
 The revised NVAA Curriculum is competency and skills-building based and responsive to a Needs Assessment conducted in 2004, which also supported the development of VAT Online. I believe that you could follow-up with OVC-TTAC to gain access to the 2004 Needs Assessment as this may help in developing your next assessment. I will try to get additional information and post it after this session, but I am sure OVC-TTAC can assist you with information on how that 2004 Needs Assessment was conducted. As someone who worked on the revising of the NVAA Curriculum, and who was involved in the original NVAA effort since 1995, I would certainly recommend looking at the revised NVAA competencyskills-building based approach.
Is it possible to register for Track 2 and only attend one or two of the Specialized Trainings? Or am I required to attend all the trainings offered in the Track?
1.  Mario Gaboury
 The current format for Track 2, Specialized Training, allows participants to register and attend some or all of the 1 and 2 day sessions and does not require that all 5 days be attended. I am not sure if this will be the case in the future, so I would certainly ask this question when the next NVAA offerings are announced. At this point, there is an expectation that the next NVAA will occur in or around March of 2009, but you will need to check in with the OVC-TTAC website and training calendar to confirm this when it is announced. That would also be the right time to re-ask your question directly of OVC-TTAC.
Many of my staff personnel have at least 4 or more years in the area of victim services, including the Director. We, however, have never participated in SVAA or credentialling. We want to enhance our skills and abilities and plan to participate in Track 3 of the NVAA. Is the NVAA a good route for us to take and how will we benefit given our tenure of service?
1.  christine
 Track 3 is an excellent track for those who have experience in the field. The track is on leadership and includes topics such as strategic planning, program evaluation and leadership and management. I would suggest that the managers attend track 3 and experienced staff attend track 2 which will include topics on compassion fatigue, ethics and cultural competency. Just an idea! Hope to see you at NVAA!
Can you please point me in the direction of an advocate training manual? Although we attend a variety of state and local trainings, we need more detailed information.
1.  christine
 OVC sponsored the development of a 40 hr online course for victim advocates and it is awesome! Here is the link - VAT Online -
2.  Mario Gaboury
 I would suggest that you might want to start with the NVAA Materials, which are posted on line by OVC-TTAC at: Also, I would assume that there are training materials available from some of the SVAA, which you can locate at: Finally, the major victim organizations, such as NCVC ( and NOVA ( may be able to assist you as well.
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