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Rural Community Dynamics
Victim/Witness Assistance in Rural Communities
Overcoming Challenges to Serving Rural Victims
   Geographic Isolation
   Overcoming Geographic

   Lack of Community

   Overcoming Lack of
    Community Resources

   Lack of Internal
   Overcoming Lack of
    Internal Resources

   Advocate Training, Education,
    and Professionalism

   Needs of Specific Populations
Promising Practices in Rural Prosecutors' Offices
Supplementary Material

Victim Advocacy Training and Technical Assistance

Additional training for victim advocates can improve a program's services and make its advocates more productive by teaching them about laws, procedures, and victim/witness issues. With the lack of funding, staffing, and time, however, most advocates in rural areas are unable to attend state, regional, or national trainings, which are usually held in metropolitan areas or out of state. By establishing a cooperative relationship with neighboring law enforcement agencies, the rural victim service provider may be able to attend trainings held in nearby jurisdictions. These organizations also may offer distance learning options, which would reduce cost, travel, and out-of-office time.

National training centers and organizations dedicated to serving victim needs also may provide advocates with the resources they need to effectively serve victims. Below are some examples of helpful links, programs, and projects. Appendix A provides a full list of victim-related organizations and their contact information.

  • The Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center provides technical assistance and training resources to victim service providers. Special consideration is given to trainings and technical assistance (TA) that have statewide or regional impact or that help many agencies or a network of service providers from different professions. The center's training and TA activities are coordinated through three core functions: needs assessment, capacity building, and evaluation.

  • The National Center for Victims of Crime offers technical assistance, conferences, and workshops on victim services to numerous state, federal, and local agencies. Past training topics include working with youth, the state of victim assistance, crime victims and the media, terrorism, stalking, and safety planning. Its Website features training dates, manuals, and publications.

  • The National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) offers numerous services for providers, including an extensive list of training curricula, resource manuals, reports, and monographs on improving the services offered to victims. These resources can be accessed from the NOVA technical assistance page.

  • The Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) devotes many of its resources to addressing the unique plight of victims in rural areas. It has three distinct projects that address rural victim needs:

    • The National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence is a joint project with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. It recently brought together teams from rural areas to identify ways to improve interventions with and services to families in cases in which child abuse and domestic violence overlap.
    • The California Clinic Collaborative on Domestic Violence is funded by the California Endowment. It helps community health clinics throughout the state, including many in rural areas, to implement comprehensive strategies to prevent domestic violence.
    • FVPF's Rural Immigrant Women Leadership Training Project is funded by OVW. It helps domestic violence survivors from extremely isolated rural areas learn to speak out and become leaders and advocates in their communities.4

  • The National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence is a nonprofit organization based in Austin, Texas. It develops training for victim service providers and provides them with consultation on how to strengthen their collaborative efforts with law enforcement to end domestic and sexual violence. The center cochaired the U.S. Department of Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence and currently works with local, state, and federal agencies to implement policies that will benefit low-income victims of abuse and all others who are at risk of being victims of domestic violence. The center's Website includes a schedule of national and regional trainings.

  • The American Prosecutors Research Institute (APRI) provides training and technical assistance primarily for prosecutors; however, a wealth of information is also available for prosecutor-based victim service providers. Individual APRI units concentrate on particular areas, including violence against women, juvenile justice, child abuse, and telemarketing fraud. APRI can be contacted for training, publications, or specific technical assistance through its Website.

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