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The competency standards describe core competencies that are necessary for delivering quality victim services. These competencies are common to a number of different types of victim assistance providers and are intended to apply to a broad variety of victim services settings.

Each competency standard consists of two parts:

  • Standard statement. The standard statement is a declarative sentence outlining the work-related abilities necessary for the provision of services.
  • Standard elements. Elements include knowledge (e.g., "describe," "recognize," "understand"), attitudes (e.g., "value," "respect"), and skills (e.g., "apply") that, taken together, equate to the required competency.

The competency standards describe what should be accomplished by the individual, yet allow for discretion regarding how the accomplishments should be achieved. Victim assistance providers may gain competency through personal experience, on-the-job performance, training, formal education, or in other ways.

The competency standards consist of knowledge, attitudes, and skills. Educators and trainers can develop curricula, training packages, and opportunities for professional growth to help victim assistance providers meet these standards. Victim assistance providers can use the competency standards to assess their own progress toward competencies, while administrative staff can use the standards to identify in-service training and professional development needs within their programs. To promote staff development, programs should provide opportunities for staff to obtain training, education, and other professional skill in competencies for which staff are evaluated.

Providers are encouraged to consult VAT Online a comprehensive, no-cost curriculum that is appropriate as both an introductory course for those new to their roles and as a refresher course for more experienced service providers.

Although all competencies are likely to improve with on-the-job performance, some (e.g., those on coordinating in section II and on self-awareness in section V) are likely to require greater practice and experience. Therefore, programs should wait several months before conducting any competency assessments, to give victim assistance providers sufficient time to achieve competency.

computer iconVAT Online is a free Web-based victim assistance training program that includes training modules on the topics of “Assessing Victim’s Needs,” “Referrals,” and “Collaboration.”