2017 Georgia Victim Assistance Academy (GVAA)

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Sun, 08/27/2017 (All day) to Fri, 09/01/2017 (All day)
Embassy Suites
620 Chastain Road
Kennesaw, GA

CJCC is hosting the 2017 Georgia Victim Assistance Academy (GVAA) in Kennesaw, GA on August 27 – September 1. The Academy is a comprehensive, skills-based training experience for crime victim advocates and for those who serve crime victims through a range of victim services programs. The overarching goal is to improve the quality and consistency of victims’ services in Georgia.  The training weaves core concepts and best practices together in ways that encourage a victim-centered, multidisciplinary, and collaborative approach to supporting those whose lives have been impacted by crime. We are building the capacity of our communities to recognize, respect, and respond to the needs and experiences of crime victims in our state by cultivating academy participants’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes. 

The Academy is designed for advocates with fewer than three years of experience – these advocates will receive the highest priority but all are welcome to apply, including long-term direct service volunteers. It is 40 hours of experiential practice, aka “baseline victimology” full of mini-lectures, large group discussions, and practical small-group exercises. Offered once a year, the Academy will be limited to 50 participants who will live and learn together for a week at the Embassy Suites in Kennesaw, Georgia.


The Academy offers an immersive experience. Participants attend sessions during the day and participate in evening activities. They will study, eat, relax, and grow together. The Academy offers a different approach to the traditional classroom experience. Many of the sessions and evenings are devoted to learning exercises such as a simulation activity, role playing, discussions, and small group activities. The Academy truly is a life changing experience. While some participants discover their life's mission, others chart out a lifelong career path, and some have even made lifelong friendships.  


The GVAA training team includes professionals who are widely recognized in Georgia as leaders in their fields. Our trainers are the same professionals who speak at victim services conferences around the country and administer some of the best-run programs in the state.

Other benefits include:

  • An Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) recognized curriculum that is both comprehensive and effective for practitioners,
  • A training experience designed by experts to address advocacy requirements based on training needs analysis,
  • Small group breakouts, projects, and exercises to apply what you learn, and
  • An opportunity to learn more than you could ever have imagined in a just few short days.


The Academy is for those who work as victim service advocates in the state of Georgia. Long-term volunteers with substantial support from their Program Supervisors may also apply. You may click here to begin your application.


  • Proof of certification that you have completed (or will complete) the Victim Assistance Training (VAT) online course offered by OVC on or before August 7, 2017,
  • Certification that you will complete the full course of instruction which includes a mandatory orientation webinar for selected participants prior to the Academy,
  • Commitment by you or your agency to pay for lunches and dinners (breakfast is provided by the hotel but all other meals will be on your own with several restaurants nearby and within walking distance).


  • Personal Statement – In 500 words or less (two pages, double-spaced), describe how the academy will benefit you, your organization, and your community. Include any additional information you believe is important for the participant selection committee to consider when evaluating your application.
  • Referral Letter – This letter should be from the applicant’s supervisor on agency letterhead explaining why the selected advocate or volunteer is a suitable candidate for the Academy.
  • Resume – Please attach your resume documenting your education & work history.
  • Victim Assistance Training (VAT) Certificate of Completion – Attach one pdf. file of the certificates of completion for modules 1-53. If you have not completed the modules prior submitting your application, all selected candidates will have until August 7, 2017 to submit their certificates of completion upon registration.


The deadline to submit applications is Monday, July 24, 2017 by 5 pm.

All applications will be reviewed by members of the GVAA Selection Committee on a rolling basis. The Committee will select the 50 applicants to be admitted into the Academy.  Staff will phone all applicants on or before Thursday, July 27th to inform of their statuses whether 1) selected, 2) not selected, or 3) placed in alternate status. Selected applicants will have until noon on Monday, July 31st to confirm attendance. Unconfirmed placements will be filled by applicants who have indicated willingness to be an alternate.


The Academy will be held from Sunday, August 27, 2017 through Friday, September 1, 2017 at the Embassy Suites located at 620 Chastain Road in Kennesaw, Georgia. All participants will reside in the hotel for the week; check-in will be on Sunday afternoon. 


There is no registration fee and all lodging expenses will be paid on your behalf. However, participants will be responsible for all lunches and dinners during the week. Any confirmed participant who does not show, however, may be responsible for the first night’s lodging expense (approximately $140.00) if no alternate applicant is available.

For more information about the application process, you may contact Kyra Matthews at kyra.matthews@cjcc.ga.gov or by phone at 404-654-1778.

Once you are ready to begin your application, please click here.

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