National Victim Assistance Academy
Since its inception in 1995, the National Victim Assistance Academy (NVAA) has provided an academic curriculum that emphasizes foundations in victimology and victims' rights and services for more than 2,000 victim service professionals from every state and territory and 7 foreign nations. NVAA's primary goals are to:
- Develop and implement a comprehensive, research-based, foundation-level course of academic instruction encompassing cutting-edge knowledge about victim assistance and the field of victimology.
- Provide high-quality, intensive education and training to victim service providers, advocates, and other professionals from federal, state, local, and tribal settings.
- Create a training model that can be adapted and integrated into institutions of higher learning and other venues.
NVAA offers a 40-hour research-based, interactive course of study covering more than 38 subject areas through lectures, working and discussion groups, exercises, computer laboratory modules, faculty mentoring groups, and self-examinations, blending theory and practice in an academic setting. The Academy has also developed educational videos and learning guides. For example, in 2002, NVAA created a live satellite training broadcast for victim advocates, law enforcement officials, mental health professionals, and emergency responders. OVC sponsored the broadcast with the Victims' Assistance Legal Organization and Eastern Kentucky University.
A formal evaluation of NVAA was completed in 2003 that assessed the academy model and its impact on students, institutions of higher learning, and the victim services field. Although findings were positive, evaluators recommended updating and developing a standardized curriculum. As restructuring the NVAA is a major undertaking, OVC conducted planning meetings, including a national symposium, to gather input and suggestions from the field. Strategies emerged for restructuring the NVAA while ensuring it remains a viable, highly visible training platform for the victim services field.
The enhanced Academy model will:
- Provide access to (1) general, foundation-level training, (2) skill-based, specialized training, and (3) management-level training to meet the needs of victim service providers at all levels.
- Promote lifelong learning and respond to victim service providers' need for professionalization of the field.
OVC hopes to complete the new NVAA foundation level training course in 2006. For a copy of the current instructor's manual, textbooks, video clips, and other information, visit National Victim Assistance Academy.