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THURSDAY, JULY 16, 1998202/307-0703


Over 250 Victim Service Professionals Receive Training

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Victim service professionals, including representatives from Germany, Australia, Nigeria and Rwanda, are receiving intensified training this week at the fourth annual National Victim Service Academy, sponsored by the Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). The Academy provides important updates on victimology, victims' rights and victim services, as well as new developments in the victim assistance field.

The week-long academy -- cosponsored by the Victims' Assistance Legal Organization (VALOR), California State University-Fresno (CSUF) and the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center -- is being held simultaneously at four universities: American University's Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C., CSUF, the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas.

"We have gone from training 33 students in 1995 to over 250 this year, including, for the first time, international students" said OVC Acting Director Kathryn Turman. "But it is more than just training; Academy students have also provided us with valuable insights from their diverse experiences serving victims."

Representatives from federal, state and local victim service agencies were selected through a national application process based on geographic, cultural and professional diversity. This year all 50 states, the District of Columbia and American Samoa are represented. The 1998 class includes delegates from every area of the criminal justice system, sexual assault, domestic violence and child victimization specialists, as well as those who serve elderly victims, survivors of homicide victims and victims of juvenile offenders.

This year's class also includes federal Victim-Witness Coordinators from U.S. Attorney's Offices and representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals Service, State Department, and Central Intelligence Agency.

Leaders in the fields of victimology, criminal justice and victims' rights teach the program. Faculty from co-sponsoring academic institutions, speakers from national crime victims' organizations and local, state and federal victims' rights and criminal justice experts are also participating. This year, in addition to the opportunity to earn academic credit in criminology from CSUF, students are also able to earn credit in psychology from the Medical University of South Carolina.

The 45-hour course covers 35 different subject areas through lectures, interactive exercises, working groups, computer labs and faculty mentoring groups. Topics includes child victimization, domestic violence, gang violence, white-collar crime and global issues in victim service. Participants are able to go on-line to learn about victims services through the use of OVC's web site.

Participants will also receive a copy of "New Directions from the Field: Victims' Rights and Services for the 21st Century," a comprehensive report on victims' rights and services that identifies hundreds of innovative public policy initiatives and community partnerships -- from children's advocacy centers and one-stop victim service centers to new technologies -- that are revolutionizing the treatment of America's crime victims. The report, which features 250 recommendations for improving victim services, was based on recommendations from leaders in the victims field, including past Academy students.

OVC is funding the Academy through a grant from the Crime Victims Fund, created by the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA). The Crime Victims Fund receives money from the fines and penalties of convicted federal criminals -- not from taxpayer dollars.

For more information about OVC or to obtain a copy of "New Directions from the Field: Victims' Rights and Services for the 21st Century," contact the OVC Resource Center at 1-800/627-6872, or visit OVC's website at For more information about the National Victim Assistance Academy, please contact VALOR. The address is 99 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 510, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, and the telephone number is 703/684-8310.

Information about other Office of Justice Programs bureaus and program offices is available at Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.

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