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Training victims and witnesses

Last edited: December 27, 2011

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Many prosecutor offices throughout the world are recognizing the advantages to both the victim and the successful prosecution of the case in providing the victim with a victim witness advocate. In most countries victim witness advocates are funded by and housed in the court system itself. Effective victim witness programs reach out to victims, inform them of their rights and court processes, provide referrals to services, and accompany victims to court hearings.

Tools for Training Victim Witness Advocates

The US Office for Victims of Crime offers a free-of-charge online training course for victim service providers. The module-style training “will provide professionals with the basic skills they need to assist victims effectively and sensitively.”  It covers

  • Goals and how to navigate through the online training
  • Basic issues such as ethics and cultural competency that provide the foundation for victim services
  • Characteristics, prevalence and other information about 14 types of crimes
  • Core skills needed by victim service providers, such as establishing rapport, problem solving and crisis intervention
  • Information about specific topics and skills needed to provide services to specific populations
  • Information about and skills needed to collaborate with various types of systems, such as community-based, criminal justice-based faith-based, and reservation-based systems.
  • Challenging situations faced by victim service providers
  • For more information, see the website.

The Role of the Victim and Victim Advocates in Managing Sex Offenders (Center for Sex Offender Management, USA). A free-of-charge online curriculum with a victim-centred approach designed for collaboration between those who work in sex offender management and victim advocates. It contains modules for a two-day training with interactive exercises, slides, participant materials, and training strategies and techniques on the following topics: Understanding Sexual Assault from a Victim’s Perspective, Working With Sexual Assault Victims, Enhancing Victim Involvement in Sex Offender Management, and Strategies for Applying the Victim-Centered Approach. For more information, see the website.