State Victim Assistance Academy

The State Victim Assistance Academy (SVAA) is a primary source of training for victim advocates. SVAA provides fundamental education for victim service providers and allied professionals who routinely interact with victims of crime. NCVLI works in Oregon and nationwide to create interactive, skills-based, basic and advanced SVAAs.

SVAA Basic Academy

The SVAA Basic Victim Assistance Academy (Basic Academy) provides fundamental education for victim service providers and allied professionals who routinely interact with victims of crime. Beginning in 2020, the Basic Academy transitioned to an all-virtual format and, in 2023, the Basic Academy is incorporating an in-person day back into the course curriculum. 

During this 40 hour training, which spans four weeks, there are synchronous and asynchronous elements. Participants will complete some work at their own pace, come together with peers for live, online sessions, and collaborate in-person for a final session.

The Basic Academy is designed for those who are new to the role of interacting with victims. The curriculum includes sessions that cover the core competencies of victim advocacy taught by local advocacy experts. 

The Basic Academy is committed to graduating advocates who possess the core competencies necessary to compassionately, knowledgeably, collaboratively, and sustainably support agency in the aftermath of crime.

Topics Include: Justice System Overview; Ethics; Privacy; Crime Victims’ Rights; Effective Communication; Crisis Intervention; Intimate Partner Violence; Vicarious Trauma, Resilience and Self-Care; Neurobiology of Trauma; and Financial Recovery.

Target Audience: This training is primarily for victim service professionals new to the role of advocacy, whether they are working in system-based or community-based agencies, or are an allied professional (e.g. mental health counselors, crisis response workers). Registration priority is given to participants from the hosting state; out-of-state participants will be enrolled as space allows.

Our next Basic Academy will be held in July/August 2023

The July/August SVAA Basic Academy will kick off its first online session on Tuesday, July 18th and continue with online sessions every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10-1pm through Thursday, August 10th. The in-person day will be in Portland on Monday, August 14th.

Click here for more details and to register for the SVAA Basic Acedemy in Summer 2023

Registration closes July 5, 2023

The Basic Academy is a place for learning the fundamentals of effective victim advocacy and for building a sustainable, collaborative community dedicated to serving and empowering victims. Success in this endeavor requires commitments from the organizers, faculty and participants.

Participants are obligated to participate in 40 hours of training over the course of four weeks that is a combination of self-paced individual work, live online sessions with the entire cohort, and one in-person session.

All registrants must review and sign the Agreement.

Successful graduates of the SVAA Basic Academy will be eligible for the National Advocate Credentialing Program Provisional Level credential. For more information about this credential, please visit:

The $375 registration fee includes access to all materials and certificate of completion.

Logistical information will be sent to registrants in advance of the Basic Academy.

Answers to many other questions can be found in the FAQ section. Please email NCVLI at if you need additional assistance.

SVAA Advanced Academy

The Advanced Academy is designed for experienced advocates, ideally persons who have graduated from the Basic Academy.  Each year, the Advanced Academy offers training on a different topic or topics focusing on specific crimes or specific victim populations, advanced skills, sustainable advocacy, or capacity building for programs and advocates.  Topics are selected based on feedback from advocates statewide.

The SVAA Advanced Academy will be held during our Pre-Conference Institute at the 2023 Crime Victim Law Conference, June 5, 2023

Working Collaboratively to Improve Oregon’s Response to Hate and Bias Crimes

As hate and bias crimes and incident rates continue to increase across the United States and in Oregon, the legal landscape for victims in Oregon shifted with the adoption of Senate Bill 577. Over the past two years, advocates and attorneys throughout the state have begun defining effective practices to help victims navigate the new laws and services SB 577 introduced. On September 29, 2021, the National Crime Victim Law Institute’s Advanced Victim Assistance Academy partnered with panelists Rosemary Brewer from the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center, Johanna Costa and Fay Stetz-Waters from the Oregon Department of Justice, Erin Olson from the Law Office of Erin Olson, P.C., and BJ Park from the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, to provide an introduction to these new laws and services, facilitate discussions about their application, and begin to develop more intentional intake, screening, and service practices to ensure that these victims and their communities receive the advocacy they need.


SVAA Advanced Academy: Protecting Child-Victims’ Rights in Criminal Justice

Oregon law affords child-victims participatory rights in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Ensuring that these rights are meaningful starts with understanding that children process information and communicate differently than adults. It is critical for attorneys and advocates who interact with child-victims to understand these differences to help remove barriers to children’s access to justice and services. Join the National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) at the Advanced Victim Assistance Academy where we will bring together multi-disciplinary presenters to train on effective rights advocacy for child-victims. During this half-day training we will cover (1) the fundamentals of child development; (2) effective communication based on children’s developmental stage; and (3) protecting child-victim agency.

Project FAQs

Where will the next Basic Academy take place?

The Basic Academy will be held virtually during 11 of the 12 total sessions. The final session will be held in the Tilikum Room at the Portland Legal Building in downtown Portland, Oregon (on the first floor of 100 SW Market Street, Portland, OR 97201).

Can you tell me more about the virtual Basic Academy format?

The Basic Academy is the primary source of statewide training for victim advocates and is designed to help crime victim advocates identify, develop and practice core victim advocacy competencies through adult learning methodologies. The Basic Academy will be 100% virtual leveraging asynchronous (e.g., a self-paced course) and synchronous (e.g., an instructor led online course) elements. An online learning community will be created and attendees can work with and learn from each other over the four week course and beyond.

How long is the Basic Academy?

The mandatory elements of the Basic Academy total 40 hours of training. The 40 hours will be spread over four weeks with 10 hours anticipated each week, comprised of a combination of independent and online learning methodologies.

In addition to these mandatory elements, the Basic SVAA offers optional learning and community building opportunities. Specifically, following completion of the Basic Academy, follow-on learning opportunities in the form of quarterly “remote brown bag lunches” on key topics will be provided to graduates.

Is there pre-work in addition to the online learning for the Basic Academy?

Yes. There is some work that needs to be done before the training days. Specifically, learners are required to:

  • Talk to your supervisor and/or others in your office to determine: (1) your office’s rules regarding confidentiality of victim communications, (2) whether your communications with a victim are privileged, and (3) whether you are a mandatory reporter
  • Identify and document key victim resources (e.g., written information, electronic databases, lists of partners, experienced colleagues) that exist in your office
  • Identify and document office policies/practices regarding when and to whom to refer victims for complementary needs (e.g., victim attorneys, victim advocates in other organizations, mental health professionals)
  • Read the “Vision of a Graduate” document and identify preliminary areas of personal strength and areas in which to grow

What is the SVAA Basic Academy Attendance/Registration/Cancellation Policy?

To facilitate registration and ensure a consistently applied set of procedures, the following guidelines govern registration, cancellation and attendance at the SVAA Basic Academy trainings:

  • Registration fees should be paid in advance and can be paid online using a credit card. Attendees and organizations may pay by check by addressing the check to “NCVLI” and putting the participant or organization name in the memo line of the check. Payment by check must be received one week after completing registration to prevent the cancellation and release of the attendee’s registration; please email if you are seeking an extension. Approval of the extension is discretionary based upon demand for the training. For individuals or organizations paying by check, NCVLI will invoice the balance due if funds are not received in advance of the training. Please note that if you cancel your registration and NCVLI has not received payment by credit card or by check, NCVLI will invoice any applicable cancellation charges, as detailed below.
  • Tuition minus a $50 handling fee will be refunded, provided an emailed request for cancellation is submitted to NCVLI at and received by the date identified in the registration. Refunds after the identified date will not be granted.
  • Make-up work may be made available if participants are unable to attend and participate in some of the live sessions, and NCVLI should be contacted in advance, whenever possible, of any absences. Participants must attend and participate in more than 50% of the live sessions to be eligible to receive the make-up work assignments necessary to successfully complete the Basic Academy.
  • In the event of a personal or organizational emergency that occurs after the refund period has ended, NCVLI may, space permitting, allow an individual or organization to transfer a registration to the next scheduled Basic Academy.

Will I receive an advocate certification when I complete the Basic Academy?

Upon completion of all required Basic Academy activities, the SVAA will provide you with a Certificate of Completion. The SVAA does not certify advocates, but if an advocate is interested in seeking a certification, the Basic Academy is a pre-approved training course with the National Advocate Credentialing Program, which offers a number of different credentials, including a Provisional Advocate Credential (no experience required), a Basic Advocate Credential (3,900 hours/2 years of experience required), an Intermediate Advocate Credential (7,800 hours/4 years of experience), and an Advanced Advocate Credential (15,600 hours/8 years of experience required). For more information about advocate certification, please visit:

When and where will the next Advanced Academy take place?

Check back soon for more information.

Can a virtual learning environment really work?

The Basic Academy has been carefully crafted leveraging distance learning theory and methodologies to:
(1) accommodate a variety of learning styles and paces;
(2) accommodate individuals’ existing personal and professional obligations by increasing the self-paced learning opportunities and lessening the fixed time commitments; and
(3) leverage the variety of technological tools to optimize learning. By taking advantage of each learning method, the Basic Academy aims to support advocate development in the best way possible.

What is the breakdown of the 40 hours?

More information on this is coming soon. 

When do I have to do the pre-work and online learning?

The required pre-work and online modules may be completed on the learner’s own schedule in advance of the training days. Registered learners will be emailed information about how to access that content, as it is released.

I am an advocate in another state. May I attend?

Registration priority is given to participants from the hosting state; out-of-state participants will be enrolled as space allows.

Can I apply for a scholarship to attend the SVAA?

Scholarships are not currently available.

What does the registration fee cover?

Registration fees include access to all materials and certificate of completion.

For more information, please email NCVLI at

SVAA Feedback Procedure

NCVLI strives to improve all aspects of our trainings, including the emphasis on inclusivity and accessibility for attendees from a variety of backgrounds, and we welcome feedback from all participants. In connection with the Basic Academy, participants are provided a number of options for providing feedback, including conversations with NCVLI staff, online questionnaires, hard-copy written feedback forms, and telephone and/or email communications. If you have any feedback, including any questions or concerns, we encourage you to communicate with us using whichever medium you find to be the most comfortable and/or accessible.

NCVLI receives government funding in the form of grants and cooperative agreements from a number of sources, including the Oregon Department of Justice, Crime Victim and Survivor Services Division (CVSSD) and the federal Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). NCVLI complies with all applicable federal statutes and regulations prohibiting discrimination in federally assisted programs or activities. More information, including the procedures by which to report a formal complaint, is available at

SVAA is supported by Award No. 2018-V3-GX-0030 awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these materials are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice or the Crime Victim and Survivor Services Division, Oregon Department of Justice.