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Host

How did you get your start doing victim advocate work, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

Do you need a particular educational background?

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jamesetta mixon in Chicago, Illinois

79 months ago

Host said: How did you get your start doing victim advocate work, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

Do you need a particular educational background?


In six months I will be graduating with a BA in criminal justice, and I want to work as an rape victim advocate.

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jamesetta mixon in Chicago, Illinois

79 months ago

I need to know how you got started, and what does it take to become great at the job.

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Jackie in Midlothian, Virginia

79 months ago

I volunteered first while still a student. This gave me experience and exposure to people who would serve as references and who also inform me of upcoming opportunities. It also gives you a chance to figure out if it's really what you want to do.

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Diane Olmstead in Endicott, New York

79 months ago

Get in touch with your local Crime Victims Assistance Center. You will be amazed at how many opportunities there are within that kind of human service organization. Some become Crisis Line volunteers and work from home speaking anonymously to victims, offering information and referral. This requires a training, often free.

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Julie in Hampton, Virginia

75 months ago

What specific training coarses do I need to take to get a degree for becoming a vitims advocate? Is a degree in Criminology, specilizing in victimology what I need or is it some other degree? I am a murder co survivor and want to be a victims advocate.Please help.

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Jane in Elyria, Ohio

74 months ago

As an advocate in the legal system I have to say that, while a degree may be helpful, it is not necessary. Most of the training is on the job and I would strongly suggest interning somewhere first. Advocates are utilized everywhere from prosecutor's offices to the attorney general's office, to individual non-profit organizations. When you contact these places make sure you have a list of questions you want answered so you can use your time wisely.

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Julie in Hampton, Virginia

74 months ago

Thank you , but if I decide a degree would be best,what type of degree ? Do I need a Criminal Justice degree or a degree in Social services or something else?

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Jamesetta Mixon in Chicago, Illinois

74 months ago

I will have my degree in Criminal Justice within a few months I am in my last term at Westwood College. I am ready to startworking in the field as an Advocate I have also been a voulenteer as a Rape Victim Advocate at Mount Sinai Hospital.

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Rachel in Alexandria, Virginia

73 months ago

Julie in Hampton, Virginia said: Thank you , but if I decide a degree would be best,what type of degree ? Do I need a Criminal Justice degree or a degree in Social services or something else?

Most advocacy organizations are looking for licensed social workers or licensed therapists. I would look into those types of degrees.

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Lutrinya Edwards in Washington, District of Columbia

70 months ago

I have associates Degree in Applied Sciences I would like to be a victim advocate but i don't no where to start plus I am a survivor of Domestic Violence and that's the area that i would like to work.

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Christa Marshall in Norton, Virginia

69 months ago

I am a domestic violence/related crime survivor. I went back to school and got a B.S. in Admin. of Justice and interned at the local VA office, but we live in a very small town and I am still not working in my field, even two years after graduation. The degree made me feel more confident, especially after hearing negative comments from my abuser for 11 years, but I would have to agree that the best training for this position would be to begin volunteering at the counseling center of your choice and apply for a paid position as soon as one becomes available.

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Angel in Chicago, Illinois

68 months ago

Jamesetta MIxon in Chicago, Illinois said: Thank you for your comments. I do not feel so bad I thought I was the only person that has not gotten a job as a Victim`s Advocate.

I am currently a student at Westwood College. Is your degree been accepted anywhere?

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jenn11class in El Paso, Texas

68 months ago

Diane Olmstead in Endicott, New York said: Get in touch with your local Crime Victims Assistance Center. You will be amazed at how many opportunities there are within that kind of human service organization. Some become Crisis Line volunteers and work from home speaking anonymously to victims, offering information and referral. This requires a training, often free.

Diane, I am originally from Binghamton, NY and am moving back there possibly after January of 2009. I am currently attending school online pursuing my Bachelors in Social and Criminal Justice and minoring in Psychology. I want to become a victim's advocate and would like to get some experience. Is there somewhere I could call in Broome County that could give me some information? I'd like to start working entry-level doing something that will get me training. Thank you!

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BLACKGKURL1968 in Saint Marys, Georgia

59 months ago

Lutrinya Edwards in Washington, District of Columbia said: I have associates Degree in Applied Sciences I would like to be a victim advocate but i don't no where to start plus I am a survivor of Domestic Violence and that's the area that i would like to work.

I AM THINKING ABOUT BECOMING A VICTIM ADVOCATE, BECAUSE I TOO WAS IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP.

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BLACKGKURL1968 in Saint Marys, Georgia

59 months ago

I'M THINKING ABOUT BECOMING A VICTIM ADVOCATE, BUT I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO START. ANY ADVICE??????

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jennifer l jarrett in Kansas City, Missouri

59 months ago

Jamesetta MIxon in Chicago, Illinois said: Thank you for your comments. I do not feel so bad I thought I was the only person that has not gotten a job as a Victim`s Advocate.

I understand whole heartedly, I graduated with a Bachelors' degree in Criminal Justice emphasis in Corrections about 10 years ago. I am currently working in the Hospitality field. I am finding this not to be as rewarding as a victim advocate. My college professor has suggested I volunteer when I get time. I am a single parent of a 10 year old. I have NO time to volunteer. (YET) I plan on doing so within the next 5 years.

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advocate in Concord, New Hampshire

58 months ago

Rachel in Alexandria, Virginia said: Most advocacy organizations are looking for licensed social workers or licensed therapists. I would look into those types of degrees.

That depends on what you are looking for...being a counselor or therapist is different from being an advocate, and employers may think you want to do counseling if you have an MSW, just a bit of advice shared with me. Also the social work curriculum has little to do with the criminal justice system, unless you are interested in trauma therapy.

If you are not tied to any one location, check out the New Hampshire AmeriCorps Victim Assistance Program at www.avap1.org (thats the number one)

Volunteer positions are aplenty, but paid ones are hard to come by. Having a degree (in anything) certainly helps. If you haven't started, look at psychology, sociology, criminal justice...but if you have don't worry about changing your major.

You also need to decide if you want to be a system advocate (law enforcement/prosecution based) or crisis center, because they can be very different.

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Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina

57 months ago

A degree in some form of a human service field is going to be the most helpful. They're looking for people who have experience with being empathetic as well as understading various races. Volunteering is going to be your key to getting your foot in the door. If you have no time to volunteer, it may be a hard field to work in. There are late night phone calls you take, trips to the ER to support victims in the middle of the night, etc. Its a big commitment with small pay. Its very rewarding though but its a fight everyday also. Think about psychology, sociology, etc. Or if you're pursuing a Master's, think about Counseling or Psychology.

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wlhfrog7

54 months ago

I am a victim of childhood sexual abuse and am fostering children who have been exposed to sexual abuse. I have been looking into doing anything as a caree that will help children with this unspeakable crime, but I fall short with what I can come up with. If anyone can direct me where to find info on even where to start would be greatly used and appriciated.

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crygreeneyes in Cicero, Illinois

54 months ago

I would like to become a victims advocate and help women that are victims of abuse, rape, battered women, women with low self esteem issues, anything of that nature. I am unsure of what degree to persue. I am thinking maybe a bachelors in gender and women studies and a masters in psychology??? I was also thinking of crminology?? I just dont know which would be more helpful for this career. Any advice??????

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Audrey in Arvada, Colorado

53 months ago

crygreeneyes in Cicero, Illinois said: I would like to become a victims advocate and help women that are victims of abuse, rape, battered women, women with low self esteem issues, anything of that nature. I am unsure of what degree to persue. I am thinking maybe a bachelors in gender and women studies and a masters in psychology??? I was also thinking of crminology?? I just dont know which would be more helpful for this career. Any advice??????

I'm taking the first steps to becoming an advocate. I want to help survivors of sexual assault. I'm going through training for a rape crisis hotline through a local rape crisis center. After being on the hotline for a few months I will go through the hospital advocate training. I'm going to start school soon. I was thinking about human services with a minor in women's studies. Are there any other steps I should be taking?

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newgrad in Hollywood, Florida

53 months ago

I served as an intern at a local police station, unfortunately i do not feel I gained the necessary experience. I would suggest you research the agency throughly before applying for any position.

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DeAnna in Louisville, Kentucky

52 months ago

Hello. I am a survivor of domestice violence as well. In 2002, I made the bold/smart decision to leave my exhusband taking along my two small children. We had no place to go and we left the home with very little. Since I had no vehicle either, I had the police respond to a neighbor's home and they suggested they take me to the nearest domestic violence shelter. I was frightened, nervous, in shock, but something told me to agree. There, where I stayed over six months and spent a majority of the year's holidays including Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine's Day and my daughter's 3rd birthday. During those six long and emotionally hard months, I was finally approved state financial assistance for housing/public assistance. I was able to leave the shelter with the help of the staff and volunteers there. I would not be where I am today if they had not helped me gain the strength I needed to survive what my children and I had endured for so long and the faith I needed to continue on each following day. It is now my heart's passion to help other victims in need. I am following very closely with those who had helped me tremendously at that shelter. The director of 6 surrounding county shelter's is a personal friend of mine. She states that a bachelor's in socialogy is a plus. A bachelor's in criminology is a plu. Gaining a CPR/AED certification is also a plus. Also volunteering at the shelter while being a student is a plus. Hope this guides you guys on your path.

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vsdeguchi@gmail.com in Maple Ridge, British Columbia

46 months ago

Diane Olmstead in Endicott, New York said: Get in touch with your local Crime Victims Assistance Center. You will be amazed at how many opportunities there are within that kind of human service organization. Some become Crisis Line volunteers and work from home speaking anonymously to victims, offering information and referral. This requires a training, often free.

I have been a victim and my passion now is becoming an advocate for abused women. I live in Maple Ridge B.C. Canada. I'm disabled now but would love to train, anything! looking for government grants to achieve my goal. Any suggestions?

Thank-you, Sherry Dietrich

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Deni in Lincoln, Nebraska

44 months ago

I am currently a victim's advocate. I did my internship at my local VA and then volunteered as I could.

I have a BS in psychology/criminal justice and it fits this area perfectly.

The problem is that most victim advocates are paid with grant money and there is not a lot of it available. You have to reapply every year and there is a chance you won't have a job at any given time. I don't want to discourage anyone, but the reality is you need to do it because you want to; not because you want to make a lot of money

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Brandy Keenom in Mangum, Oklahoma

44 months ago

Host said: How did you get your start doing victim advocate work, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

Do you need a particular educational background?
When I saw the position in the paper, I went to apply for the job (not having any previous counseling experience; just life experience), and asked them how to obtain the experience to be qualified, and they sent me to the local Women's Center and they held a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Advocacy Training. I updated my resume with the dates that I was going to be attending the class, and I was lucky enough to get an interview. The most important part of the whole process was the interview. If you can get show that you are really passionate about the position, and be confident in yourself-you will be sure to get the job! I was hired before I attended the training, and the training was postponed for 3 months while I shadowed my boss, which your going to have to shadow someone anyway, even after the training. No special degree required, just a passion to do a good job!

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Brandy Keenom in Mangum, Oklahoma

44 months ago

Audrey in Arvada, Colorado said: I'm taking the first steps to becoming an advocate. I want to help survivors of sexual assault. I'm going through training for a rape crisis hotline through a local rape crisis center. After being on the hotline for a few months I will go through the hospital advocate training. I'm going to start school soon. I was thinking about human services with a minor in women's studies. Are there any other steps I should be taking?

It sounds like your on the right track. You might be able to volunteer at the District Attorney's Office as a Victim Witness Advocate, and it could turn into full time.

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True Story in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

44 months ago

I'd like to find an advocate for my problem, but in Pennsylvania employers can fire any time for any reason.
If it sounds too good to be true, it always is. Here's my horror story: Omni Cable conducts their interviews strictly through their HR Department, Sean Mooney. Sean spent 45 minutes interviewing me over the phone. Later I spent three hours one day and where I met Sean and two others and it all seemed quite positive. A week later we had lunch and afterward I was told that I was going to made an offer.
Afterward Sean called me and told me 'we are very excited' to have me on board. I would start in 2 weeks, November 15.
Four days before my start date I fell, severely spraining my ankle and foot. The next day I woke up with flu-like symptoms. All this a few days before my first day of employment.
I tended myself over this time and on Sunday, my foot and ankle seemed better.
However, on Monday, my foot began to swell on the drive into my new job. I arrived a few minutes before 8:00 a.m. and by 11:00 a.m. my foot was severely swollen. I wanted to raise and ice it. At which time, the individual I was working with told me to go home.
He led me into my direct report's office and I asked them if they felt it would be better to move my start date to November 29th, which I should have done on Friday after my fall. Both men were in agreement and assured me that there would be no problem.
I left and went to the doctor to be told to treat myself as I had been.
Upon my return home Sean Mooney had left me a message. They had decided to rescind their offer of employment. When I asked for a reason, they only stated that I moved the hire date.
A lawyer told me that the reason they rescinded their offer was due to the accident and they deemed it a liability.
Other people I have spoken with have deemed it to be a very shallow act on the management at Omni Cable.
Be warned Omni Cable is all business. There is no room for human compassion at this company.

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Michelle in Palm Bay, Florida

39 months ago

I just stated the Criminal Justice program three days ago. I too am wanting to be a Victims Advocate. I truly believe there could never be enough of them. With the crime rate on the rise, specially against women, we need all the people we can get who are truly in it from the heart.

My motivation comes from past experience. I appreciate and respect having some one there to guide me through the process that I had to go through. I feel it is now my time to give back.

I am currently enrolled in the Criminal Justice program, going for my bachelors, which is required for the position. I had no idea that you could volunteer for this kind of position. That's great and I think I'll look into that.

Good luck to all of you interested in this position! I hope all works out.

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jbradj07

38 months ago

Host said: How did you get your start doing victim advocate work, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

Do you need a particular educational background?

I would like information on this myself. I am a soldier who has committed abuse against my spouse but was hoping that if I made it through what I'm going through now, I can help others get past what I've done or prevent it all together.

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Cathy in Newport News, Virginia

34 months ago

I am nurse, but want to be a victims advocate. What would the best route be to do this?? any suggestions?

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Julia in Huntsville, Texas

29 months ago

Julie in Hampton, Virginia said: Thank you , but if I decide a degree would be best,what type of degree ? Do I need a Criminal Justice degree or a degree in Social services or something else?

I am also wanting to be a victims advocate and am getting my BA in Victim Studies with a minor in Psychology then will get my Masters in Victim Studies. I thought that seemed like the best way to go for me. I am also getting certified in victim assistance (NOVA). Hope that helps you.

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sharminkohinoor@yahoo.com in Elmhurst, New York

13 months ago

i have my associate in liberal arts math and science from lagcc, cuny. Now i will be graduating with a women's study major from queens college, cuny by 2013. I am so lost when i think about job market. Please help me!!!!!!!!!!!

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Sayangcg in Los Angeles, California

12 months ago

I used to work as a Victim Advocate in the District Attorney's office back in the day for several years. Certainly one of the most complex life changing, rewarding jobs I ever had!

First of all to qualify for the position you would need a Bachelor's Degree, in what specific field may not matter as much as what you bring to the table at your interview. My degree was in Women's Studies and I had had a couple of years prior of volunteer work in DV and Rape Crisis counseling and brought a lot of passion for anti-violence. Many of my colleagues including the Prosecutors brought their own life histories of having been affected by violence in their personal lives or those of loved ones.

It would certainly help to have a degree in some social studies or criminal justice related field -- but it doesn't preclude anyone else from getting a foot in the door. The learning you get on the job is akin to none that you could possibly get in college.
Be prepared to be baptized by fire! and you'll learn lots, and learn fast -- if your heart is in it.

However, at least when I was in the Victim Services field about 18 years -- it was a terribly paid position, high stress, high volume (but high rewards!) especially in a large city -- I mean pitiful salaries! as were/(are) the salaries of the Prosecutors back then. Things may have changed since though in terms of compensation.

Good luck for those still looking!

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