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Communities of Practice and SVAAs

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2018
4 pages
This paper explains how the communities of practice (CoP) concept applies to State Victim Assistance Academies (SVAAs) and examines how this can benefit services to crime victims statewide and nationwide.
A CoP is defined by its three distinctive characteristics: 1) Members share a particular interest and a commitment to that shared interest; 2) Members share information, learn from each other, support the development of each other's efforts, and interact with one another; 3) Members are engaged in actions and practices that are relevant to the common interest and the other community members. The SVAA Resource Center, which was established by the U.S. Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), recognizes that many CoPs currently exist in the field of victim services; and by bringing together a diverse group of members from those CoPs to form an SVAA CoP can improve training in the field of victim services. The goal is to ensure the delivery of high-quality services to all types of crime victims. This paper profiles the SVAA CoP and how it is manifested at the national, state, and SVAA levels. It notes that using an SVAA to develop the CoP on the local level among the students, faculty, and staff who participate in the SVAA is the most critical of the three CoP levels. These individuals determine the quality of victim services in the jurisdictions where they live. SVAA participants rely on one another for networking, sharing resources, and providing direct care to crime victims. A strong CoP at the local level nourished by networking among SVAA participants will fuel state and national levels of the CoP.

Date Published: May 1, 2018