FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 1999202/307-0703



Over 330 Victim Service Professionals Receive Training

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney General Janet Reno delivered the closing address today at the fifth annual National Victim Service Academy, sponsored by the Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). The Academy provides victim service professionals with important updates on victims' rights and victim services, as well as new developments in the victim assistance field.

"Our nation's ability to help crime victims has grown tremendously, in part through this type of state-of-the-art training" said Attorney General Reno. "But we cannot rest; we must continue to improve the victim services both in this country and around the world."

The week-long academy -- cosponsored by the Victims' Assistance Legal Organization (VALOR); California State University-Fresno (CSUF); the University of New Haven; Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas; and the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center -- is being held simultaneously at five universities.

In 1995 the Academy trained 33 students, but this year will it provide training for more than 10 times that number. The 1999 class includes delegates from every area of the criminal justice system, specialists in sexual assault, domestic violence and child victimization, as well as those who serve elderly victims, survivors of homicide victims and victims of juvenile offenders.

Representatives from federal, state, local and tribal victim service agencies were selected through a national application process based on geographic, cultural and professional diversity. All fifty states, the District of Columbia and American Samoa are represented. There are also two students from South Africa and one student from Japan.

This year's class also includes federal Victim-Witness Coordinators from U.S. Attorney's Offices and representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals Service, State Department, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, Secret Service and Central Intelligence Agency.

"Even though Academy students come from so many different walks of life, they are all dedicated to helping victims," said OVC Acting Director Kathryn Turman. "These students' diverse experiences in victim service help inform us, as well as their colleagues."

The five participating universities are: American University's Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C., California State University-Fresno (CSUF), the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, and Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas..

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 are also participating. In addition to the opportunity to earn academic credit in criminology from CSUF, students are also able to earn credit in psychology from the Medical University of South Carolina and credit in social work/criminal justice studies from Washburn University.

The 45-hour course covers 36 different subject areas through lectures, interactive exercises, working groups, computer labs and faculty mentoring groups. Topics include child victimization, domestic violence, gang violence, drunk driving, campus crime, financial fraud, international issues in victim service and serving the needs of under-served victims of crime. Participants are able to go on-line to learn about victims services through the use of OVC's Website.

OVC funds 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. In 1998, the Crime Victims Fund received $324 million.

For more information about OVC contact the OVC Resource Center at 1-800/627-6872, or visit OVC's Website at For more information about the National Victim Assistance Academy, please contact VALOR. The address is 8180 Greensboro Drive, Suite 1070, McLean, Virginia 22102, and the telephone number is 703/748-0811 or 1-877/748-NVAA (6822).

Information about other Office of Justice Programs bureaus and program offices is available at Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.

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