Requirements to become a victims advocate

How to Become a Victim Advocate

An underrated profession, violence intervention professionals help trauma victims navigate the complexities of the justice system. Also known as victim advocates, these professionals contribute to the community by assisting and promoting the well-being of individuals affected by violent crime. They spend their days ensuring that survivors’ voices are heard and that their rights are protected.

Becoming a victim advocate is a fulfilling, meaningful, and important profession. However, it is not an easy career path. Those who serve society in this capacity need to develop a deep understanding of the legal and emotional challenges commonly faced by trauma victims. Further, they must learn how to provide critical support, compassion, empathy, and advocacy for affected individuals.

If you are interested in becoming a victim advocate, your next step will be to enroll in a specialized training program like Goodwin University’s Certificate in Violence Intervention. A career-specific certification program, like this one, will equip you with the necessary skills and expertise to become an advocate for victims in need.

Understanding victim advocacy

Many factors work together to form the growing professional field of victim advocacy. Understanding the role in detail is essential when searching for relevant training programs.

Those who become victims advocates provide the following services and support for survivors of violent crimes:

  • Support for Survivors. Victim advocates serve as representatives between survivors and the justice system. They are not just for emotional support; they also provide physical and practical assistance, from crisis intervention and counseling to help with transportation, child protective services, and financial aid referrals.
  • Access to Resources. Victim advocates connect survivors to essential resources, helping them navigate the aftermath of trauma, including medical care, mental health services, housing assistance, and general information about trauma recovery, self-care, and navigating the criminal justice system.
  • Improving Justice System Interaction. Advocates can assist with legal procedures, such as helping survivors file restraining orders and report crimes. They can also serve as mediators by communicating with law enforcement and court officials on behalf of survivors.
  • Prevention and Education. Victim advocates go beyond individual cases, representing survivors in public education campaigns and raising awareness about the impact of crimes on individuals and the community.
  • Community Impact. The impact of this education can be profound, creating better representation of survivors in public education campaigns and raising awareness about the impact of crimes on individuals and the community.

Victim advocates must navigate bureaucracy with a compassionate and empathetic demeanor to provide lasting and needed support for survivors. Luckily, those in this profession can gain training that provides them with the tools and knowledge they need to navigate tricky situations.

The path to becoming a victim advocate

Becoming a victim advocate typically involves specialized training and education in crisis intervention, trauma-informed care, and legal advocacy. It is recommended that victim advocates hold a bachelor’s degree in a relevant area of study, but specialized knowledge in violence intervention is a bonus and offers a competitive edge for job seekers. Training and education may also come through work experience, postsecondary programs, or a culmination of schooling and careers.

In preparation for this career, you can also gain practical experience through volunteering, applying for internships, or joining local community organizations.

Additionally, aspiring victim advocates can make a serious impact by participating in advocacy initiatives addressing systemic issues beyond individual cases. Victim advocates may pursue professional certifications from recognized bodies, such as the National Advocate Credentialing Program, to validate their expertise in violence intervention.

And if you’re unsure where to start, there are programs designed specifically for this professional pathway, like the certificate program offered here at Goodwin. Our Violence Intervention and Advocacy Certificate matches perfectly with a Human Services degree, offering students specialized knowledge in advocacy, case management, crisis intervention, and more.

Exploring victim advocacy

The Victim Advocate Training Certificate program at Goodwin equips students with a solid foundation in victim advocacy principles and practices. The curriculum covers essential topics such as trauma response, crisis intervention, case management, and human trafficking awareness.

Guided by experienced faculty, students gain a deep understanding of trauma’s effects and foster their ability to interact with diverse individuals in crisis.

On its own, the victim advocacy program is comprehensive and academically rigorous, so graduates can provide encouraging and effective support to survivors. However, the certificate can also be combined with an associate or bachelor’s degree in a related field, like Human Services, to position aspiring advocates for top-notch careers after graduation.


Learn how to become a victims advocate through Goodwin University.


Hands-on experience and career opportunities

Goodwin University offers students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through internships with local human services organizations. During an internship, students apply their knowledge in the real world in order to gain valuable expertise, as well as establish professional networks in the field.

Coupled with this experience, a certificate in Violence Intervention and Advocacy leads to flexible and fulfilling career opportunities, including:

  • Advocates help people by defending their rights and providing support in legal or social service settings.
  • Behavior specialists assist individuals with behavior problems by developing and implementing behavior plans in schools or treatment centers.
  • Interventionists provide on-the-ground support to people in crisis by offering targeted support and counseling in schools or mental health facilities.
  • Group facilitators lead group activities and discussions to promote learning and personal growth in community centers or schools.
  • Violence prevention coordinators create programs to prevent violence and ensure safety in schools, communities, or healthcare settings.
  • Violence prevention educators then implement new programs, teaching people how to avoid violence through workshops and educational programs in schools or community organizations.
  • Youth development professionals support young people’s growth and development by organizing programs and activities in schools or youth organizations.

Graduates are prepared for these types of fulfilling career paths by already having a solid foundation in human services and practical experience. They are well-prepared to positively impact their communities.

Learn more about violence intervention and advocacy

If you’re interested in exploring other career paths in health and human services, Goodwin University offers a range of programs in these areas. Our programs are designed to prepare students for impactful roles promoting the emotional, physical, and mental wellness of individuals and communities.

Whether you’re passionate about advocacy, crisis response, or community outreach, a career in violence intervention as a victims advocate could be the perfect you.


Take the next step towards a fulfilling career by exploring Goodwin University’s Human Services program options. Start today and make a difference in your community.