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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
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minus iconVolunteers: Recruiting,
Screening, and Training

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

Using This Training Guide

This 8-hour basic training session is for volunteers who are new to providing services for crime victims. In this initial training, volunteers are exposed to a broad overview of victim issues and ethical considerations. They also learn basic skills in crisis communication techniques and service delivery. This is the first step toward turning out a well-trained volunteer who is equipped to handle many of the questions, concerns, and situations he or she may encounter.

The guide offers tips for trainers in setting up the training and communicating with adult learners, followed by five training modules, which include trainers' notes, suggested handouts, and sample documents. Naturally, these are just suggestions. Each Good Samaritans program should tailor its training to fit the community and victim population it serves.

It's also important to remember that effective Good Samaritans volunteers need additional and ongoing training. Victim assistance experts recommend at least 16 hours of annual training to properly prepare volunteers and to keep their service skills sharpened.

Additional training may take the form of supervised on-the-job experience or regular volunteer sessions that address topics of interest such as—

  • Community referral agencies and services
  • Specific victim populations
  • Police procedures
  • Home safety checkups
  • Crime victims compensation
  • Court procedures
  • Victim accompaniment to court

Who Should Make Up the Training Team?

Volunteer training is a golden opportunity to strengthen relationships within your volunteer corps and with your community partners. Have a prosecutor or a law enforcement officer present the module on crime. A mental health professional (counselor, psychologist, or social worker) can present the component on victimization. Experienced volunteers can help you recruit and screen new volunteers prior to the training. At the training, they can lead small groups, set up meals and snacks, or even make presentations on topics they are qualified to teach.

Recommended Program Components

  • Application and prescreening
  • Classroom instruction (8 training hours)
  • On-call experience with a seasoned volunteer (8 service hours)
  • Followup training 4–6 weeks after basic training and on-call service have been completed (4 training hours)
  • Continuing education on new services, victim issues, leadership skills (6 training hours per year)
  • Yearly evaluation