|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||OVC||FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 2000||202/616-3534|
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TRAINS VICTIM SERVICES PROFESSIONALS TO BETTER ASSIST VICTIMS
DOJ Also Releases New Resource Guide
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Over 350 victim services professionals will today complete a week-long intensive training at the sixth annual National Victim Assistance Academy sponsored by the Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). The training will improve direct services to victims by informing victim service professionals about the latest techniques and programs in the field.
"Our ability to better meet the needs of crime victims has grown tremendously through these academies," said OVC Director Kathryn Turman. "By bringing victim services professionals from around the country and world to receive state-of-the-art training, students from a variety of backgrounds can share information with each other and inform us, so we can improve our programs to assist victims."
At the academy's closing session, Turman will hear students' thoughts on priorities for victims services. She will also announce the release of a new resource guide designed to aid criminal justice agencies, victim service providers and allied professionals in implementing the 250 recommendations discussed in the 1999 publication, New Directions from the Field: Victims' Rights and Services for the 21st Century.
The academy ran concurrently at 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. The academy was co-sponsored by the Victims' Assistance Legal Organization (VALOR), CSUF, Washburn, American, the University of New Haven and the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center.
This year, the Academy trained 360 students, almost 10 times the number of students trained at the first Academy in 1995. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands were represented, as well as single students from Israel, Rwanda and the Netherlands.
Representatives from federal, state, local and tribal victim service agencies were selected through a national application process based on geographic, cultural and professional diversity. The 2000 class includes participants from the criminal justice system, domestic violence, sexual assault and child victimization advocates, and those who serve elderly victims, survivors of homicide victims and victims of juvenile offenders.
This year's class also included federal Victim-Witness Coordinators from U.S. Attorneys' Offices and representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Border Patrol, Bureau of Prisons, State Department,
U.S. Coast Guard, Postal Inspector's Office, and the U.S. Capitol Police. Leaders in the fields of victimology, criminal justice and victims' rights taught the curriculum, and faculty from co-sponsoring academic institutions, speakers from national victims' organizations and federal, state and local victims' rights and criminal justice experts also participated.
The 40-hour course covered topics including domestic violence, child victimization, sexual assault, financial crime, gang violence, drunk driving, homicide, hate crime, campus crime, victimization of the elderly and individuals with disabilities and meeting the needs of under-served victims. Substance abuse and victimization was added this year.
By completing the course, students can earn academic credit in criminology from CSUF, psychology credit from the Medical University of South Carolina and credit in social work/criminal justice studies from Washburn University. This year, American University's Washington College of Law also offered continuing legal education credits for attorneys.
To date, 137 students have taken the program for undergraduate credit and 203 students have received graduate credit. The total number of students who have earned academic credit for the Academy from 1995 to 1999 is 340, which is roughly one third of all academy students.
OVC funds the Academy through a grant from the Crime Victims Fund, created by the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 and administered by OVC. Monies in the Crime Victims Fund come from fines and penalties from convicted federal criminals - not taxpayers.
More information about OVC is available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/, or by calling the OVC Resource Center at 1-800/627-6872. For more information about the National Victim Assistance Academy, contact VALOR. The address is 8180 Greensboro Drive, Suite 1070, McLean, Virginia 22102, and the telephone number is 1-877/748-NVAA(6822). The Web site is www.nvaa.org. To obtain a copy of the Strategies for Implementation -- Tools for Action Guide, contact the OVC Resource Center. Information about other Office of Justice Programs bureaus and program offices is available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov.
After hours contact: Linda Mansour on 202/616-3534