Victim Advocate Information
"How can I help victims?"
Click here to read an New Yorker article about rise of the victim rights movement!
Explore Volunteer Opportunities
Most Sheriff's Offices, Police Departments, and District Attorney's Offices have some type of Victims' Assistance Unit. Many of the Victim Advocates within these units are volunteers. The first step in learning what opportunities are available as a victim advocate in your area of the state is to contact one of those agencies and ask to speak with the person in charge of their Victims' Assistance Unit. Many times, these agencies have volunteer opportunities listed on their website and generally provide a standard training, unique to their agency, for new volunteers.
Specialized Advocate Volunteers
If you are interested in becoming an advocate that specializes in domestic violence, sexual assault or child abuse, most counties have nonprofits that focus on helping victims of these types of crimes. Many times, too, these agencies have volunteer opportunities listed on their website and generally provide a standard training, unique to their agency, for new volunteers. Visit our Directory (located on the Home page) and search for agencies in your county to get started.
Direct vs. Indirect Services
Another thing to consider when looking into victim services is direct and indirect services. While both are extremely rewarding and vital to the victim service field, they are different and you should know where you best fit!
- Direct Services: Agencies that provide direct services generally provide either on-scene services (as in the case of Sheriff or Police agencies) or crisis services (as in the case of a sexual assault service or domestic violence shelter or hotline).
- Indirect Services: These agencies provide what some might call "back-end" or "hidden" services. These indirect services don't always include one-on-one contact with a victim, but are still extremely valuable! Examples are agencies or departments that support direct services such as COVA.
- Check into your local nonprofits, police department or District Attorney's Office website for volunteer opportunities.
- COVA's Job & Volunteer Opportunities page.
- COVA's Trainings & Events page - See what is happening around the state and in the US!
- Look into COVA's Victim Service Intern Program if you are a college student in the Denver Metro area.
COVA Tips for Crisis and Trauma:
The Aurora Theater Tragedy, the Columbine Tragedy, the 9/11 Attack, the Park County School Shootings, and many other disasters have far-reaching implications. Those of us in victim services may need to be prepared to respond to situations that are different from our normal professional challenges. COVA encourages you to be prepared in your community to respond to these acts of violence. We are available to support your efforts to provide these services, and PLEASE remember to take care of yourself.
COVA's Alphabet Soup:
There are many abbreviations used in the victim service field. Below is a link to many abbreviated terms to assist you!