skip navigation
Good Samaritans Volunteers Helping Victims Program Handbook and Training Guide
Top navigation About This Guide Message From the Director Acknowledgments About the Authors Related Links
Photo: Man and woman looking out of a broken window.

Publication Date: April 2009

minus iconFilling a Void—Origins of the Program
minus icon
minus icon
Volunteers: Recruiting,
Screening, and Training

minus icon
minus icon
minus icon
minus iconModule 2: The Victim Experience
minus iconModule 3: Basic Skills for Volunteers
minus icon
minus icon
minus icon

Volunteers: Recruiting, Screening, and Training


Basic training for volunteers covers essential knowledge about crime victimization. It also includes topics such as active listening skills, ethical considerations of providing services, compassion fatigue, victim service protocols, and referral to additional services.

The training modules in this guide provide volunteers with an initial 8-hour training. These modules are geared toward novices in victim service and cover the following topics:

  • Crime in America
    • The criminal justice system
    • Crime victimization
    • What do victims want?
    • Victims' rights and resources

  • The effective Good Samaritan
    • Why train?
    • Examining our own value systems
    • Values clarification exercises
    • Ethics and confidentiality

  • The victim experience
    • Helping crime victims
    • Stages of the victim experience
    • Factors in recovery

  • Basic skills
    • Good communication
    • Active listening
    • Five basic listening skills
    • Useful phrases for crisis intervenors

  • Providing services
    • Anatomy of a victim service call
    • Psychological first aid
    • Guidelines
    • Service call role play
    • Serving specific victims
    • Sample job descriptions
    • Keeping track (forms and paperwork)

  • Self-care
    • Managing your own stress
    • Symptoms of severe stress: A checklist
    • The Cure: Refueling

Additional training should be provided on the specific skills needed to make emergency home repairs, conduct home safety inspections to prevent revictimization, accompany victims to court, and so on.

In addition, Good Samaritans sites are encouraged to invite speakers from law enforcement and prosecutors' offices and victim service organizations to provide volunteers with a broad view of crime and victims' issues in each community.

In Mobile County, Good Samaritans volunteers receive additional training hours during regular meetings. The meetings also give volunteers a time to interact and problem solve.