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Victim Advocate Training Program and Education

A victim advocate helps people who are victims or witnesses of a crime, assisting them to deal with emotional stress and/or legal proceedings. Read on to find out about program options, course topics, certification levels and career opportunities in this field.

What Victim Advocate Programs Are Available?

You can normally find advocacy training through undergraduate and continuing education certificate programs that take less than six months to complete. These programs can prepare you to work with people who have experienced or witnessed a crime. Many programs do not require experience or previous training in victim advocacy. You can choose to enroll in a program offered completely online or in a classroom. Training through an online program might include a single course that is broken up into multiple modules.

Program OptionsOnline or campus-based
Common Course TopicsSocial work, human resources, criminal procedure, victimization theory, grants
Certification OptionsVoluntary through National Advocate Credentialing Program (NACP)
Career OptionsCrisis center worker, crisis prevention group leader, domestic violence shelter worker, crisis hotline receptionist
Job Outlook (2016-2026)16% growth (for social and human service assistants)*
Median Salary (2018)$33,750 (for social and human service assistants)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Might I Study?

Through a victim advocate training program, you can learn to communicate with victims suffering from various types of stress. You'll also come to understand legal terminology and explore various counseling techniques. Additionally, your training might cover methods for working with different age groups, ethical treatment of patients and ways victims can approach resolution. You might develop skills working with state and county governments, interpreting judicial possibilities, dictating legal processes and understanding the effects of different crimes. Other topics covered in these programs can include:

  • Victimization theory
  • Human resources
  • Social work
  • Grants
  • Criminal procedure
  • Cultural diversity

Is Certification Available?

You can pursue voluntary certification through the National Advocate Credentialing Program (NACP), which offers provisional, basic, intermediate, and advanced advocate credentials (www.trynova.org). A basic training course is a prerequisite for enrolling in the provisional level. Advanced levels also require a specific number of hours of experience.

What Can I Do With My Education?

After you complete your education, you'll be qualified to work with victims and witnesses of various crimes, including domestic violence, robbery, homicide, child abuse, assault and sexual abuse. You might work for a crisis center, domestic violence shelter, crisis hotline or crisis prevention group.