Georgia Victim Assistance Academy (GVAA)

The basic Georgia Victim Assistance 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 annually, the Academy is limited to 50 participants who will learn together from Sunday afternoon through Friday afternoon.


The Academy offers an immersive experience. Participants attend sessions during the day and participate in evening activities. They will study, 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. Many of the day and evening sessions 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. A testament to the need for 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.

Click HERE to register for the 2021 GVAA Tier B.


Victim Assistance Training and Development Coordinator Sherida Lovelace