Victims’ Advocate Career Information, Jobs, Degrees & Training Programs

Abuse victims typically feel alone because they do not know where to seek assistance. However, victims' advocates, specialists who assist abuse victims, can be found in every community. They assist abuse victims by listening to them, referring them to police and legal authorities, and teaching them how to obtain assistance from private charities and government agencies. Victims' advocates are trained to understand the domestic abuse cycle, how the court system operates, and how to assist people in various circumstances. They help others keep their sanity during traumatic and confusing circumstances.

Victims' advocates can specialize as court, child, and battered women advocates. No matter their specialty, every advocate assists abuse victims locate resources, fill out papers, and get in touch with lawyers and other legal professionals.

Once an abuse victim contacts an advocate, the first thing he or she does is offer unconditional acceptance and refer the victim to psychologists and social workers. In some cases, victims' advocates accompany their clients at police stations and courtrooms. Victims' advocates also frequently testify at court trials.

Advocates are employed at government agencies, non-profit organizations, hospitals, health clinics, community centers, women's shelters, courts, and police agencies. Occasionally, they consult with legislative bodies, police departments, and social services agencies to discuss domestic abuse and related issues.

Job duties typically differ by organization. Advocates employed by women's shelters help abuse victims organize safety plans, locate social services, and apply for college or job training programs.

Advocates employed by non-profit organizations are often assigned administrative, fundraising, and public advocacy duties. Non-profits also hire advocates to evaluate and counsel victims and answer questions about domestic abuse.

Community centers hire victims' advocates to develop and manage programs intended to benefit abuse victims. Many community groups and centers sponsor programs where advocates are available around the clock to meet with victims at universities, police departments, and emergency rooms.

Many advocates teach seminars about domestic abuse, organize public awareness campaigns, and consult with legislative representatives to recommend changes to public policy. When teaching seminars, victims' advocates teach attendees how to identify victims, assist them, and direct them to resources. Some victims' advocates write articles for academic journals and websites.

As mentioned, victims' advocates frequently accompany victims to court trials to assist with paperwork and other tasks. One of their most important responsibilities is to provide moral support since their clients' abusers are frequently present at court.

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