MONDAY, JULY 14, 1997202/307-0703


Victim Service Professionals To Receive Intensified Training

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- For the third year, the Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is sponsoring a national victim assistance academy for professionals who help crime victims. The Academy will give victim advocates and other professionals important updates on victimology, victims' rights and victim services, as well as new developments in the victim assistance field.

The week-long academy -- cosponsored by the Victims' Assistance Legal Organization (VALOR), California State University-Fresno (CSUF) and the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center -- will be held simultaneously from July 13 to 18 at four universities: American University's Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C., CSUF, Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas and the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas.

"Our Academy is the first federal training academy for victim advocates and allied professionals. It's not just another conference, but a unique learning experience for which individuals can earn up to three units of academic credit from California State University-Fresno," said OVC Director Aileen Adams. "It's an interactive, skills-building course where the four classrooms will be joined by state-of-the-art audio-visual linkages, and nationally recognized faculty will provide instruction. Participants will also work with faculty-in-residence at each site and gain valuable insight from others about their diverse experiences serving victims."

Representatives from federal, state and local victim service agencies were selected through a national application process based on geographic, cultural and professional diversity. This year 47 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands are represented. The 1997 class, which is almost twice as large as last year's, includes 170 delegates from every area of the criminal justice system, sexual assault, domestic violence and child victimization specialists, as well as those who serve elderly victims, survivors of homicide victims and victims of juvenile offenders.

Fifty leaders in the fields of victimology, criminal justice and victims' rights teach the program. Faculty from co-sponsoring academic institutions, speakers from national crime victims' organizations and local, state and federal victims' rights and criminal justice experts will also participate.

The 45-hour course will cover 35 different subject areas through lectures, interactive exercises, working groups, computer labs and faculty mentoring groups. Three new topic areas will address victims with disabilities, research and evaluation and stress and burnout. Other new developments on issues such as hate crime, stalking, and workplace violence will be covered. Participants will be able to go on-line to learn about victims services through the use of OVC's new web site.

Participants will hear from Bonnie Campbell, Director of the Justice Department's Violence Against Women Office, and Former Attorney General Edwin Meese. Aileen Adams will give the opening address at American University and close the academy at CSUF.

OVC is funding the Academy through a grant from the Crime Victims Fund, created by the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA). The Crime Victims Fund receives money from the fines and penalties of convicted federal criminals -- not from taxpayer dollars.

For additional information regarding the Crime Victims Fund or OVC and its programs, visit the OVC World Wide Web site at or the Office of Justice Programs' (OJP) web site at Or, call the Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center on 800/627-6872. For more information about the National Victim Assistance Academy, please contact VALOR. The address is 99 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 510, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, and the telephone number is 703/684-8310. Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.



After hours contact: Linda Mansour at 202/616-3534