Victim advocates are the experts who take responsibility for the victims after a crime they witnessed. They provide counseling and manage all the related affairs necessary to offer support to a victim through different advocacy methods. The methods involve crisis intervention, training programs, public speaking, development, evaluation, and other general victim assistance services.
The special services are for all the victims with cases from different crime categories. These categories involve sexual harassment, child abuse, domestic violence, survivors, and people dealing with psychological abuse, victims of homicide, and more.
Victims need to understand their legitimate rights and know about what will happen next as their case proceeds. They have to recall their traumas over and again during investigations. The recall continues for the criminal justice system’s subsequent trials to work and advocate for their job. Victims must adequately describe their rendition of the crime scene in police meetings and court declarations and then alleviate the impacts of repeating any victims’ trauma.
Becoming a victim advocate can be a rewarding job if you are a humanitarian. So if you ever wonder how to become a victim advocate, we have the answer. It sometimes requires formal education and relentless training to become an impartial victim advocate. It is a distinct career choice for those who have a passion for serving the community by giving something back and for generally empathetic people.
How To Become A Victim Advocate?
You do not always need a certification or a thorough educational degree to become a victim advocate. But it can prove very helpful to seek more credible and prominent job opportunities. All you need is a good, empathetic heart, an analytical mind, and a passion for helping others to become successful victim advocates.
Career Options For Victim Advocates
The US Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) observed a significant rise in the need for advocacy jobs. Therefore, it prospects a 16% growth in the job opportunities for people looking to be social workers and victim advocates from 2018-2026.
It is most often a full-time position. But you can also work as a part-time worker and offer your services to different medical institutions, social work organizations, and other facilities. A few social workgroups and some organizations also take interns for a specific time to train them. The National Centre for Victims of Crime keeps posting jobs related to the field.
Important Skills For A Criminal Justice Advocate
Victim advocates have many obligations specially designed to assist the victims. They help them adapt to certain traumatic situations, cope with their psychological issues, and navigate the criminal justice system. The responsibilities also include:
- To provide the relevant case data and information to the victim.
- To maintain impartiality
- To help them understand the political issues of the criminal justice system.
- To facilitate the victims and connect them to respective organizations.
- To ensure the safe transport of the victims to the court.
- To assist victims when filing protective orders.
- To provide guidance and counseling to the victims and witnesses.
- To help victims in finding compensation.
- Notifying victims when inmates get out of the jail
- Offer emotional support to the victims and their families.
Victim advocates have a wide range of working responsibilities, from helping the eligible victims keep the victims informed and updated on their cases. Victim advocates collect all the information and data. They then send it to all the relevant departments working on the victims’ issues, e.g., the courts, the police, and the researchers.
Attributes Of A Victim Advocate
Being a victim advocate requires some skills. These skills enhance the value of their services as they work with people from all economic, ethnic, and social groups. Due to the substantial overall demographic, an advocate must have the following attributes:
- They should remain confidential and impartial.
- They should have the ability to remain rational.
- They should have excellent communication skills.
- They should be persuasive and patient.
- They should have the ability to work on a schedule.
- Their social aptitude should be higher than usual.
These qualities can help you achieve your career goal of becoming a successful victim advocate and helping people. In addition to all the mentioned qualities, a victim advocate must be compassionate and empathetic to be a fantastic advocate.
As mentioned earlier, you do not always need a formal degree in the respective discipline. Nevertheless, it can help people get more confident in their field and possibly acquire more noteworthy jobs with more significant compensations. You may need some extra preparations to clear a few assessments to get through organizations that emphasize victim support. Victim advocates usually acquire their approvals through the National Organization for Victim Assistance.
However, to be an effective advocate, you will at least need foundational knowledge of human psychology. Some experience with the individuals who are undergoing any emotional or physical trauma helps as well. You can seek internships, join social work programs to gain more insight. A bachelor’s degree in psychology, social work, criminal justice, or a related field can prove to be imperative.
Training & Work Environment
A victim advocate gets to work at an office, the house of a victim, some medical clinic, a safe house, or at related facilities. Cops, criminologists, the examiners at the scene of the crime at times can call these advocates to the crime scenes. They then guide people minutes or even hours and days after the crime happened.
Some lawyers have victim advocates in private offices, and they get to guide victims in their workplace. Victim advocates also help their victims by using a mobile phone in a crisis through email or text messages.
Occasionally, advocates go to court with the victims. Advocates may also contact associations, for example, criminal justice or social assistance agencies, to find support or information for the victims. A few staff emergency hotlines uphold gatherings or form support groups and provide in-person assistance.
An advocate can talk in support of a victim if they allow them. Advocates can also contact any individuals that the victim wishes them to reach and give out information with the victim’s authorization. For example, they may call and educate any relatives or companions of the victims and update them on the victim’s status. The advocate can also contact the manager or the boss of a victim to illustrate why they will not appear at work.
Seeking help is never easy for the victims of crime in society. Still, as a victim advocate, you can make sure that everyone in the company can get a chance to receive justice. If you aim to serve your community in times of crisis, victim advocacy is a great profession. It allows you to be empathetic and maintain a position to help real victims of crimes.