As the field of victim assistance evolves, basic guidelines are needed to ensure consistency and quality of service. From 1999 to 2003, the National Victim Assistance Standards Consortium (NVASC), an ad-hoc group, worked to draft a set of standards for programs and individual victim advocates. Funded through the United States Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and coordinated through The Center, NVASC included victim-service experts from a variety of disciplines and geographic locales. This group conducted research and planning to draft program standards, competency standards, and ethical standards, all of which were published in the NVASC Standards for Victim Assistance Programs and Providers.
In 2010, OVC funded “The New Standards Project: Bringing Victim Service Standards into the Next Decade.” For this new project, The Center will convene a second National Victim Assistance Standards Consortium and initiate a rigorous marketing campaign for dissemination of the standards to the field. The consortium will update the original standards for contemporary relevance, develop the standards as an easy-to-use web-based tool, and implement media events to enhance accessibility of standards across the nation. This project furthers the United States Department of Justice’s mission by providing resources to practitioners, programs, and communities to promote competence, ethical integrity, and consistency in services for crime victims and their families.
The standards initiative grew out of the Victim Assistance Institute (VAI), The Center’s four-year training collaboration with the SC State Office of Victim Assistance. Although VAI is not currently being offered, the Needs Assessment, Training Curriculum, Participant’s Manual, and Final Evaluation Report are available.