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Dan Petersen, Ph.D.

Patricia Dahl, Ph.D.

Joint Center on Violence and Victim Studies

The Joint Center on Violence and Victim Studies addresses issues of violence and victimization as an inter-university consortium of Fresno State University, Washburn University, and the University of New Haven.


The Joint Center on Violence and Victim Studies applies rigorous, evidence-based approaches to addressing all forms of violence and victimization at individual, societal, and global levels through professional development and consultation, higher education, and research and analysis.


The Joint Center on Violence and Victim Studies values:

  • Excellence in theory, research, education, and practice
  • Cultural sensitivity and competence
  • Respect for victim needs and concerns
  • Comprehensive and ecological analysis and service
  • Holistic wellbeing
  • Integral and accessible victim services
  • Inter and intra-collaboration of research and practice
  • Support for victim rights

California State University at Fresno, University of New Haven and Washburn University are associated with the American Society of Victimology.


After years of working together on professional development programs, special projects, and the development of academic programs, the Joint Center on Violence and Victim Studies (JCVVS) as a formal affiliation between Washburn University and California State University, Fresno was established in 2001. The Joint Center on Violence and Victim Studies worked with the University of New Haven on various projects over the years, and the University of New Haven formally joined the affiliation of the JCVVS in 2004.

California State University, Fresno

California State University, Fresno was the first university in the country to offer an academic program in victim services. The initial program was an academic certificate proposed and drafted in 1984 by Dr. John Dussich, later implemented and expanded by Dr. Steve Walker. Initially the program was jointly sponsored by the Criminology Department and the School of Education, but by 1988 it was exclusively housed and administered by the Criminology Department. California State University, Fresno was the first academic institution to develop programs in this area is probably due to the influence of several factors and pioneers in victim services. One of these pioneers was James Rowland, Chief Probation Officer in Fresno County, who created the first Victim Impact Statement in 1976. He also was instrumental, along with John Dussich, in establishing the first NOVA conference in 1976. Another Fresno pioneer was Ron Classen, founder of one of the first Victim-Offender Reconciliation Programs.

In 1988, Dr. Steve Walker was given the position of Coordinator of the Victim Services Certificate Program. In the summer of 1989, CSUF offered the first Summer Institute on Victim Services, an intensive program of the four academic certificate courses. By 1992, the first victimology major was created at the University. A joint doctorate in victimology between CSUF and the University of California, Davis has been in the works since 1996 and is pending implementation. California State University, Fresno was the first academic institution to serve as a co-sponsor of the NVAA in its initial offering in 1995.

Dr. John Dussich and Dr. Bernadette Muscat joined CSUF as victimology faculty in 2003.

Washburn University

Washburn University started a focus on victimology/victim assistance in 1994 when faculty and administrators from human services, criminal justice, social work, psychology, legal studies, and continuing education met to discuss how the University can and should address issues of violence and victimization. From these discussions, various professional education programs were developed. In 1995, Dr. Steve Walker approached Washburn University about serving as the midwest host site for the OVC NVAA and from 1996 to 2004 Washburn University has served as host site and cosponsor of the NVAA. Through the JCVVS, Washburn continued to offer the NVAA independent of OVC for two years.

In 1998, Washburn started the victim/survivor services academic program through the Human Services Department. Dr. Dan Petersen and Dr. Thomas Underwood assisted the program by serving as faculty until Dr. Brian Ogawa was hired as full-time faculty in 2000.

Washburn University also serves as the administrative base of the Joint Center on Violence and Victim Studies and is housed in the Office of Academic Outreach.

University of New Haven

In 1994 the University of New Haven in Connecticut established its Center for the Study of Crime Victims' Rights, Remedies and Resources under the direction of Dr. Mario T. Gaboury. The crime victim study center was a precursor to the academic Victimology programs established shortly thereafter. By 1996 UNH had established the second degree program in the field. UNH had offered Victimology related courses for some time by then, but a concentration in Victim Services Administration was created as part of the B.S. in Criminal Justice. A free-standing certificate was also developed mirroring the undergraduate concentration. By 1998, a graduate concentration in Victimology and Victim Services Management was created in the M.S. Criminal Justice program and, similar to the undergraduate program, a free-standing graduate certificate was made available.

The crime victim study center continues to provide a number of enhancements to UNH's academic programs through various externally supported projects such as professional training, strategic planning, field research, publishing, filing legal briefs related to victim issues, and work with scholars and practitioners across the country and internationally. UNH's academic Victimology programs are housed in the School of Public Safety and Professional Studies as part of the Criminal Justice Department, which also houses the Forensic Science program. Other programs at the undergraduate level include Juvenile and Family Justice, Crime Analysis, and Research and Program Evaluation; and at the graduate level include the Forensic Psychology and National Security programs.