Professionals in many fields (medical, legal, mental health, media, criminal justice, victim advocacy, clergy, etc.) come in contact with crime victims every day. Yet, often, each provider knows little, if anything, about the other systems that impact the victim’s experience and pursuit of healing and justice. The MVAA Summer Institute’s week-long training helps enrich and broaden advocates’ perspectives and approaches to their work with victims and survivors.
About the MVAA Program
The Massachusetts Victim Assistance Academy (MVAA) began with the support of the Federal Office for Victims of Crime, which has been promoting the establishment of Statewide Victim Assistance Academies (SVAA) across the country. In 2005, the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) applied and was selected to join the ranks of only 17 existing SVAA programs at that time. Based on MVAA’s unique curriculum, it was lauded as a “model for the nation” in its first year of operation and continues to provide consultation to other states establishing similar programs.
While typical trainings often take a ‘topic-centered’ approach, the MVAA takes a ‘victim-centered’ approach. This unique curriculum, which is both practice-focused and academically informed, provides an in-depth understanding of the crime victim’s experience over time and across the various systems with which they interact (e.g., criminal justice, medical, mental health, victim advocacy, media). It also incorporates an understanding of the impact of survivors’ diverse backgrounds and life experiences. Furthermore, the MVAA curriculum promotes the importance of meaningful collaborations and coordinated responses among service providers.