OVER 175 VICTIM SERVICE PROFESSIONALS RECEIVE STATE-OF-THE-ART TRAINING AT NATIONAL VICTIM ASSISTANCE ACADEMY
WASHINGTON, DC – Victim service professionals from across the nation received comprehensive and innovative training at the ninth annual National Victim Assistance Academy, sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP). Participants learned about valuable tools in responding to crime victims’ needs, including victims of terrorism, domestic violence, sexual assault and under-served victims. OJP’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) funded the training.
The week-long academy was held at the Medical University of South Carolina. It was also held simultaneously at California State University-Fresno (CSUF) and Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas from June 8 to June 13.
“From the Academy’s beginning in 1995, OVC will have trained nearly 2000 victim service providers from every state and territory, as well as from seven other nations,” said OVC Director John W. Gillis. “The Academy provides quality education and resources that enable a broad range of professionals to better serve crime victims.”
Many past Academy participants have already made an impact in their communities. A member of the 2002 class developed a kit with critical information for victims of stalking. Another participant established an on-call program so that police officers could immediately page victim service providers to come to a crime scene.
Representatives from federal, state, local and tribal victim service agencies were selected for the Academy through a national application process based on geographic, cultural and professional diversity. The 2003 class included 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.
Leaders in the fields of victimology, criminal justice and victims’ rights serve as instructors. Students had the opportunity to earn academic credit from Washburn University. The 40-hour course covered over 38 different subject areas through lectures, interactive exercises, working groups, and faculty mentoring groups. Topics included victims of terrorism, child victimization, domestic violence, sexual assault, drunk driving, campus crime, financial fraud, the link between substance abuse and victimization, communicating with victims and supporting under-served victims of crime.
OJP’s Office for Victims of Crime is committed to enhancing the nation’s capacity to assist crime victims and provide leadership to promote justice and healing for crime victims. OVC funds the Academy through a grant from the Crime Victims Fund – which is supported primarily by fines paid by federal criminal offenders – not taxpayers. These fines are collected by United States Attorneys’ Offices, the U.S. Courts and the Bureau of Prisons. Fines collected in one year are deposited into the Fund and are available for grant awards the following year. The USA Patriot Act of 2001 allowed private gifts, donations and bequests to the Crime Victims Fund.
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises 5 component bureaus and 2 offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Executive Office for Weed and Seed, and the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education. Information about OJP programs, publications, and conferences is available on the OJP Web site, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/.
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