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.


  • Proof of certification that you have completed (or will complete) the Victim Assistance Training (VAT) online course offered by OVC,
  • 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 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) Certificate of Completion – Attach one pdf. file of the certificates of completion for modules 1-53. Modules must be complete by the application deadline. Incomplete applications may not be considered.


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.


The Academy will be held from Sunday, May 19, 2019 through Friday, May 24, 2019 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Atlanta Perimeter Dunwoody located at 4386 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd in Atlanta, Georgia. All participants will reside in the hotel for the week; check-in will be on Sunday afternoon. Should there be any changes or updates, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council will notify all applicants.


Applications are due by April 16, 2019 by 5 pm.
Registration is now CLOSED.


There is no registration fee. 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),
  • Cost of hotel stay, and
  • All meals not included with the hotel stay.

We would like to invite all eligible applicants to apply for financial assistance toward costs to attend our 2019 Georgia Victim Assistance Academy. Please complete the financial assistance section of the application, if needed.

For more information please contact Kyra Matthews at [email protected] or by phone at 404-654-1778.