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Assessment of the Effects of the National Victim Assistance Academy: Final Report

NCJ Number
205529
Date Published
April 2003
Length
248 pages
Annotation
After describing the features and goals of the National Victim Assistance Academy (NVAA), this report presents the methodology, findings, and recommendations from a 2002 evaluation of the NVAA.
Abstract
Established in 1995 as part of a cooperative agreement between the Federal Office for Victims of Crime and the Victims' Assistance Legal Organization on behalf of a consortium of national victim assistance organizations, the NVAA has three primary goals. One goal is to develop and implement a comprehensive, research-based, foundation-level course of academic instruction that provides victim advocates with current and cutting-edge knowledge about victim assistance and the field of victimology. A second goal is to provide high-quality, intensive education and training to victim service providers, advocates, and professionals from Federal, State, local, and tribal settings. A third goal is to create a training model that can be adapted and integrated into institutions of higher learning and other venues. The evaluation collected and analyzed data and information from on-site observations by the evaluation team; participants' responses to questions at the conclusion of the NVAA curriculum; and interviews with faculty, students, and supervisors approximately 6 months after academy participation. The evaluation found that the Academy was partially successful in achieving the overall goals. Generally, it presented a comprehensive, research-based foundation-level course of academic instruction that provided victim advocates with knowledge about victim assistance and the field of victimology; however, the NVAA failed to offer current and cutting-edge information for a number of topics covered in the text. The curriculum must be continually updated to reflect the frontiers of victimology. Regarding high-quality, intensive education and training, the NVAA covers a lot of information in a short period of time. In order for participants to internalize the volume of information covered, more time is required for the presentation of important information, reaction or discussion of the information among participants with and without faculty, and personal time to interpret how the information will be useful to the student in his/her specific work with crime victims. For the most part, the NVAA did offer quality instruction to participants. Some suggestions for improving quality included using more interactive, adult learning strategies in the sessions to engage participants, bringing in more direct-service providers who are working in specific areas, and incorporating more skill-building exercises. Information from faculty, supervisors, and program coordinators of State Academies suggests that institutions of higher learning, agencies and organizations, and States as a whole have benefited from the use of the NVAA as a model for educating and training victim service providers, advocates, and allied professionals. In addition to achieving a significant measure of NVAA goals, the evaluation found that the Academy had a noticeable and even statistically significant impact on students by increasing their knowledge, improving their attitudes, and providing them with the capacity to make changes. Extensive exhibits and appended NVAA data collection instruments and instructions as well as highlights of Academy text reviews by chapter