Professional Development

Foundations in Victim Services

The Foundations in Victim Services program provides exposure to a broad spectrum of topics essential to a core education in victim's rights and services. Embracing the academic foundations for the field as well as the need for direct application, this professional development program requires demonstration of knowledge and performance for the professional certificate issued by the JCVVS. This intensive, five-day educational program covers an array of specific topics within the following themes: 

  • Foundations in Victimology and Victims' Rights
  • Overview of Justice Systems and Emerging Issues
  • Physiological and Psychological Impact of Crime
  • The Prism of Victimization: Age, Culture, Ability, Location
  • Types of Crime Victimization
  • Financial Remedies:  Compensation, Restitution, and Civil Remedies
  • Collaboration and Professionalization

The program is applicable to the variety of practitioners who in some way are concerned with issues of violence and victimization services, such as community-based victim services, government-based victim services, law enforcement, corrections, judiciary, mental health, clergy, health care, and so on.  As a foundation level program, the program may best address the needs of the practitioner with limited experience (five years or less). However, due to the breadth of the program, even seasoned professionals may benefit from exposure to the array of topic areas.

Program Information


The following is a recommended program agenda, though topic and time adjustments may be made depending on need and circumstance.

Day 1

Welcome and Overview

8:00 - 9:00

Welcome and Program Overview

Program goals, schedule, project groups, certificate of completion, academic credit.

9:00 - 9:15


Foundations in Victimology and Victim's Rights

9:15 - 10:30

History of Victims' Movement

International, national and state perspective of the development and evolution of victim rights and services.

10:30 - 10:45


10:45 - 11:30

Victimology Theory and Research

Characteristics and prevalence of crime with introduction of theoretical explanations. Discussion of applied research and program evaluation as it applies to victim services.

11:30 - 12:30


12:30 - 1:30

Victimology Theory and Research ;- continued;

1:30 - 1:45


1:45 - 3:15

Victims' Rights

National and local status of initiatives, legislation, policies, and resources.;

3:15 - 4:00

Values and Beliefs

4:00 - 5:00

Project Groups

Day 2

8:00 - 8:15

Announcements / Exam Review

Justice System

8:15 - 9:30

Dynamics of Justice Systems

Presentation of the various types of justice systems with discussion of the unique principles and applications.

9:30 - 9:45


9:45 - 11:30

Exploring Other Justice Systems

Juvenile, Tribal, Military, and Federal justice systems.

11:30 - 12:30


Mental Health Needs

12:30 - 2:15

Impact of Victimization

Presentation of the immediate, short-term, and long term effects of trauma. Includes application of crisis intervention exercise.

2:15 - 2:30


2:30 - 3:30

Impact of Victimization: Application

3:30 - 4:15

Care for the Caregiver

4:15 - 5:00

Project Groups

Day 3

8:00 - 8:15

Announcements / Exam Review

The Prism of Victimization

8:15 - 10:00

The Prism of Victimization: Culture, Age and Ability, Location

Focus on undeserved victims based on age across the life span and on the cultural aspects of race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation.

10:00 - 10:15


10:15 - 11:30

The Prism of Victimization: Application

11:30 - 12:30


Types of Crime Victimization

12:30 - 1:30

Domestic Violence

Dynamics of domestic violence with discussion of basic strategies for effective intervention.

1:30 - 1:45


1:45 - 2:4

Sexual Assault

Issues of medical, psychological, and social impact of sexual assault and how those issues affect reporting and services.

2:45 - 3:00


3:00 - 4:0

Crimes Against Children

Aspects of child neglect, physical and sexual abuse with discussion of impact based on age and development.

4:00 - 5:00

Project Groups / Dinner

5:00 - 6:00

Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Crimes Against Children: Application

Day 4

8:00 - 8:15

Announcements / Exam Review

Types of Crime Victimization...continued

8:15 - 9:15

Homicide and Drunk Driving

Explores the overall impact of criminal death and service response.; Resources and promising practices are explored.

9:15 - 9:30


9:30 - 10:30

Hate and Bias Crimes

Presentation of social and legal definition with discussion of impact on individual, group, and society.

10:30 - 10:45;


10:45 - 11:30

Project Group

11:30 - 12:30


Financial Remedies

12:30 - 3:30

Compensation, Restitution, and Civil Remedies

Foundation and legal basis of victim compensation with application specific to the state.

3:30 - 3:45


Collaboration and Professionalization

3:45 - 5:00

Professional Ethics in Victim Assistance

Day 5;

8:00 - 9:30

Project Groups

9:30 - 9:45

Announcements / Exam Review

Collaboration and Professionalization...continued

9:45 - 11:45

Collaboration for Victim Services Panel

Representatives from a compendium of services engage in a facilitated discussion on interventions and resources for crime victims.

11:45 - 12:45


12:45 - 2:00

Recommendations for Improving the Implementation of Victims' Rights and Expanding Victim Services

Project group presentations of recommendations.

2:00 - 2:15


2:15 - 3:30

Looking Toward the Future

Trends for the profession, award of certificates and closing.

Contract Fee

The JCVVS makes every effort to keep program costs low and offers a base price to cover certain fixed costs plus a variable rate based on the number of attendees. The base price is $10,725 for up to 15 participants plus $150 per each participant thereafter.  The greater the number of attendees the lower the per person cost since the assessed fee after the base fee is covered is nominal. The cost of the program includes instruction, materials, professional certificate, and support. Most often the JCVVS simply bills for services upon the completion of the program, though some organizations prefer to split the payments with a partial payment in advance.




Travel and accommodations for the instructors are not included. There a minimum of three instructors with additional instructors for groups with more than forty-five participants. Travel includes air flights, mileage, car rental, taxi, or other forms of transportation. All meals will be reimbursed either through per diem or by direct reimbursement. Typically these expenses are simply added to the contract bill. 

Course Materials

A collection of articles and resources are provided in a program book. While these national materials serve as the basis for the program, application of the content to the jurisdiction of the contract entity is emphasized through other materials and instruction. All materials are provided though some local copy may be needed.

Professional Certificate

The program includes an optional Professional Certificate in Victim Assistance: Foundation Level. The certificate of completion is awarded by the Joint Center on Violence and Victim Studies to participants who demonstrate:

  1. full attendance
  2. successful completion of examination
  3. participation in group project 

The certificate is designed to be completed the same week of the program offering.


“(The) instruction has made me want to become more involved in the entire process … your passion is contagious. I want to be a team player in victim’s rights and hope I can pass this contagious passion to my employer … I really learned so much information that I didn’t know I didn’t know.”


“Very thorough. The instructors were more than great! We especially enjoyed the small group activities.”

“I gained a greater understanding of victims’ issues which will enhance my ability to treat offenders. I felt my perspectives were heard and responded to by the presenters.”

“The interactive parts of the course were the most beneficial for me. It helped me to take theory and put it into a practical frame.”

“Lectures were fantastic! Group work was helpful to make practical things I could use. It was incredibly educational! Do not change a thing!

“It was a lot of information to absorb in a week, but I found out a lot of things I did not know that will help us in our agencies. I do not think it could have been better.”

“Great program. Causes and individual to realize where they, the advocate, stand in responding to victims. The (courses) was a growing experience.”

“Very informative. I never got the classroom sleepy’s. You kept us going.”

“What a great job! I know everyone had a great time, we learned a lot. To have such a knowledge base in our instructors – I wish we had you all here for a month!

“Very necessary class; very appropriate information; very well presented. This course should be required! Thanks”

“I feel that everyone should take this if working in the field. This was a wonderful experience …. The instructors were knowledgeable … the program was wonderful and will use this in the everyday work.”

“The program really helped how I thought and thing about things …. (instructors) did an amazing job … I really enjoyed this class! This is a class that would be great for all advocates and management!”

“I liked the learning environment, the theories discussed, and the facilitators …. I learned so much during this academy and appreciate the opportunity …”

“The hands-on activities truly assisted us in breaking down the process … The program truly sets us up for success with the victims and within the agencies associated with.”

“I enjoyed this class and would refer anyone to it. Not only does it make you think at the agency (level) but it is something that can be used in real life.”