OVC encourages service providers and allied professionals to strengthen their knowledge, skills, and abilities so that they can provide the best possible services to crime victims throughout the Nation. The Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC) leads the agency’s efforts to provide such expertise- and capacity-building activities by offering a variety of instructor-led trainings, both in person and online; providing educational opportunities through the National Victim Assistance Academy; and awarding scholarships to eligible professionals and survivors to attend training conferences. OVC TTAC also provides customized training and technical assistance tailored to the needs of service providers, and maintains a comprehensive network of consultants with expertise to inform OVC's capacity-building initiatives.
OVC maintains a cadre of more than 600 highly skilled consultants—nearly 300 of whom are survivors of crime—to support organizations that work with crime victims. These consultants have expertise in a variety of topics, including crime, program development, victimization issues, and victim assistance settings, and are available to deliver customized technical assistance on specific topics within these areas, ranging from the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate victim services, to the impact of traumatic grief on friends and family members, to working with specific communities of survivors.
OVC TTAC conducted two webinar series in 2016, drawing 539 total participants. The first webinar, conducted six times, provided an overview of the Helping Victims of Mass Violence and Terrorism: Planning, Response, Recovery, and Resources toolkit. The second webinar, conducted three times, provided an overview of donation management, an important victim assistance protocol explained in the toolkit.
OVC TTAC engaged New York University School of Medicine’s Child Study Center to evaluate the trauma support services provided to residents of Newtown, Connecticut, through OVC and Department of Education (DoED) grants awarded in response to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The Child Study Center is collaborating with a DoED consultant to coordinate an evaluation and explanatory report.
In FY 2014, OVC TTAC launched Victim Assistance Training (VAT) Online, a web-based victim assistance training program that provides victim service providers and allied professionals with fundamental skills and knowledge—as well as tools, services, and best practices—to enhance their ability to effectively meet the needs of victims. VAT Online has four sections: Basics, Core Competencies and Skills, Crimes, and Specific Considerations for Providing Victim Services. More than 25,000 people have registered for this online training program.
In FYs 2015 and 2016, OVC TTAC provided a variety of training and technical assistance on other critical areas, such as sexual violence, human trafficking, and legal assistance. OVC supports other specialized training and technical assistance, some of which is discussed in other parts of this report. Some demonstration projects have technical assistance projects attached to them to support the development of the new initiative.