History of VALOR
VALOR, the Victims' Assistance Legal Organization has a history of providing national leadership on issues related to the rights of crime victims in America. Founded in 1979 as the Crime Victims' Legal Advocacy Institute, Inc., the organization was renamed VALOR by the Board of Directors in 1981.
Under the leadership of its founder, Frank G. Carrington, VALOR was actively involved in filing Supreme Court amicus briefs, providing legal counsel to new victim organizations, such as the National Victim Center and Security on Campus, and consulting with crime victims and their attorneys regarding civil remedies. Mr. Carrington also played a significant role in the development and passage of the Campus Security Act of 1990, and the drafting of the Campus Sexual Assault Victims Bill of Rights.
Tragically, Mr. Carrington died in a fire January 2, 1992. Following his untimely death, Mrs. Mary Olson Carrington joined the VALOR Board of Directors. With grant support from the Carthage Foundation and help from expert consultants who had worked with Mr. Carrington, the Board began the challenging task of carrying on his vision.
In 1995, the Office for Victims of Crime awarded VALOR a grant to lead a team of advocates, service providers, and academics in the formation of the National Victim Assistance Academy.
National Victim Assistance Academy (NVAA)
The Office for Victims of Crime at the U.S. Department of Justice awarded a grant to the VALOR to plan and produce the annual National Victim Assistance Academy (NVAA) in 1995. Under VALOR's management, the intensive 40-hour Academy was conducted annually at several universities across the nation, featuring nationally recognized faculty. Opportunities exist to earn academic credit for completion of the Academy on the undergraduate or graduate levels. It has also been possible to utilize the Academy to earn continuing legal education credit for attorneys in the states of New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. A project team of victim advocates, victim service providers, academics wrote and later revised the National Victim Assistance Academy Text, an 800-page comprehensive review of crime victim legal and service issues that is the principle teaching text for the five day training. The Text also serves a basis for trainings at many of the State Victim Assistance Academies now underway across the nation. In 2003, the Office for Victims of Crime, Training and Technical Assistance Center assumed the management of the National Victim Assistance Academy. For information about the NVAA go to http://www.nvaa.org
National Victim Assistance Academy: Advanced Topic Series
Leadership in Victim Services
Effective leadership and program management are essential to the success of any victim assistance program. As part of its collaboration with the Office for Victims of Crime, VALOR developed a two-day academic-based training that examines and demonstrates critical areas of leadership and management for victim services professionals. The curriculum emphasizes participant involvement in experiential, interactive, and case study-based learning exercises. The training features a team of national experts in leadership, program management and related areas of expertise.
The Ultimate Educator:
Achieving Maximum Adult Learning through Training and Instruction.
In the same series, VALOR developed a two and one-half day training that examines, in a highly interactive, experiential and process-oriented format, the various roles and responsibilities of an adult trainer and what skills and strategies can be utilized by trainers to maximize participant learning.
In 2003, the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center assumed the management of the National Victim Assistance Academy: Advanced Topic Series. http://www.ovcttac.org/index.cfm
Ethics in Victim Services
In an effort to address common goals around excellence in the delivery of services to crime victims, in 1999 the Office for Victims of Crime created the National Victim Assistance Standards Consortium (NVASC). NVASC's goal was to create a model for competency and ethical standards of conduct for the field of victim assistance. To do this, the Consortium researched existing standards in similar professions, polled the field of victim assistance, and utilized the expertise and experience of a representative and diverse core of victim assistance professionals. The result of this work is the "NVASC Standards for Victim Assistance Programs and Providers," written by
Dr. Dana De Hart, Ph.D., at the University of South Carolina at Columbia.
Ethics in Victim Services, funded by a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, is based on the NVASC model of ethical standards. It is designed to help victim assistance professionals identify, analyze, and resolve the many ethical dilemmas they face on a daily basis. It provides victim service providers with the tools to develop model ethical standards appropriate for their organizations and agencies. Neither the NVASC standards, nor this book, are intended to dictate standards of performance. This text provides an opportunity for victim assistance providers to bridge the gap between the abstract concepts represented in a code of ethical standards and practical work with crime victims. It seeks to connect the core values of the field with the commonly agreed upon ethical principles that support them, and then position the ethical standards in a real-world context.
Ethical decision-making is a skill to be acquired. This handbook of ethical practice is a skill-building resource that will help victim assistance providers think through common ethical dilemmas. It offers practical tools and problem-solving techniques for addressing ethical challenges as they develop. Readers have the chance to assess their personal values, moral orientation, and personal bias to consider how these elements influence the decisions they make in the workplace. Exercises in ethical decision-making allow individuals and groups the benefit of forethought: the chance to practice the process. Ethics in Victim Services is available for purchase through the VALOR website.