Georgia Victim Assistance Academy (GVAA)

The Georgia Victim Assistance Academy (Tier A) Is Now Accepting Applications

The Georgia Victim Assistance Academy (GVAA) is a comprehensive, skills-based training experience for crime victim advocates 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. 
Tier A of 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. The Academy is limited to 50 participants who will learn together in a blended format.

The Academy offers an immersive experience. Participants will network, brainstorm, engage in discourse, eat, relax, and learn together. The Academy offers a different approach to the traditional classroom experience. As an intensive experience, it is the boot camp of victim services in Georgia. Sessions incorporate a variety of learning exercises such as simulation activities, 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. A testament to the need and value of the Academy is that, no matter how exhausted participants are after the experience, they always seem to want more. 

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 and allied professionals 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,
  • Proof of certification that you have completed (or will complete) Georgia State University’s Trauma 101 and Brain 101 courses offered by Georgia State University’s Child Welfare Training Collaborative,
  • 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 your expenses including mileage, hotel stay, and meals.


  • 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 as well as identifying at least two goals for the advocates attendance. Goals may outline how the academy will benefit your organization and your community.
  • Resume – Attach a current resume documenting education & work history.
  • Victim Assistance Training (VAT) Certificates of Completion or Transcript – Attach one pdf. file of the certificates of completion or transcript for modules 1-54. Modules must be completed and proof submitted by Friday, April 26, 2024. Applications completed and submitted by the deadline application will be prioritized.
  • Trauma 101 and Brain 101 Certificates of Completion – Attach one pdf. file of both certificates of completion. Courses must be complete prior to attendees receiving GVAA certification of completion. Applicants must provide proof of course registration if not completed prior to May 1, 2024.

All complete applications will be reviewed by members of the GVAA Selection Committee on a rolling basis. All required attachments must be received to constitute a complete application. The Committee will select the 50 applicants to be admitted into the Academy.  Staff will phone all applicants to inform of their statuses whether selected or not selected. Selected applicants will need to confirm attendance. Unconfirmed placements may be filled by applicants prior to the Academy. Selected participants will be notified by Monday, April 15th and must confirm participation by Wednesday, April 17th. The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) may replace unconfirmed placements until Friday, May 3rd.
The Academy will be delivered in a blended format. The virtual sessions will be held during the mornings of May 13th, 15th, and 17th. The in-person sessions will be held in the Macon, GA area from Sunday, May 19th through Wednesday, May 22nd. Selected participants will be informed once the venue is confirmed. All participants are expected to reside at the hotel in Macon; check-in will be on Sunday afternoon followed by a meet and greet and interactive session. Should there be any changes or updates, CJCC will provide notifications.

Selected participants will be required to attend an orientation session. Two dates will be offered for participants to attend during the week of May 6th.

Participants may also have limited pre-learning activities to complete prior to the virtual sessions to ensure a baseline understanding of fundamental terminology and concepts. Participants are expected to complete pre-learning activities prior to May 13th.
Applications are due by April 1, 2024 by noon.
There is no registration fee. Once accepted, applicants will need to reserve their own hotel room and provide their confirmation code at the time of acceptance and online registration. Participants will be responsible for:

  • Travel costs (i.e. mileage),
  • Costs associated with hotel stay,
  • All meals not included with the hotel stay, and
  • Any incidental expenses incurred during the hotel stay.

Note: There are no scholarships available. 

Please click here to begin your application.


Victim Assistance Training and Development Coordinator Sherida Lovelace