Appriss and NOVA partner together to provide training for victim advocates

Each October, victim assistance organizations all over the United States join hands beneath the purple banner of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), uniting under a shared commitment to raise awareness about the scourge of intimate partner violence. One of the key areas of support for victim assistance organizations is training victim advocates, or the men and women on the front lines of assisting victims of domestic violence. This critically important and difficult work requires strategic, skill-based training in the core competencies victim advocates need to work directly with survivors.


This training is highly dependent on organizations with a committed team of experienced and empathetic professionals who can educate, train, and prepare victim advocates. NOVA (the National Organization for Victim Assistance) is the oldest national victim organization of its kind in the United States and exists to support survivors of crime and train those who work directly with them.


Founded in 1975, NOVA’s mission is to assist victims by connecting them with services and resources and train victim advocates and crisis providers in the skills they need to help victims in their times of need. Their National Advocate Credentialing Program (NACP) was the first such program available to advocates and equips advocates with the skills and credibility they need to work in the field of victim assistance. NACP trains advocates in the key areas of crisis intervention, communication skills, ethics and confidentiality, and boundaries and self-care. These core competencies form an essential knowledge and experience base for anyone working directly with victims of intimate partner violence.


Claire_NOVA“Victim advocates are often the first and sometimes the only person that a victim or survivor chooses to disclose the most painful and traumatic event that has ever happened to them,” said Claire Ponder Selib, Executive Director of NOVA. “It's critically important, from my perspective and NOVA’s perspective, that victim advocates have the training and the tools to respond in a way that empowers survivors and gives them all the resources that they are entitled to in order to begin their healing journey.”


Ponder Selib has more than 25 years of experience (including the last seven years at NOVA) providing direct advocacy services to victims of crime and has managed victim assistance programs for civilian and military agencies alike.


One of the primary areas of focus for NOVA is becoming as accessible as possible for victim advocates while meeting the diversity of situations and needs advocates experience, Ponder Selib said. Victim advocates serve in a variety of roles, including community-based and system-based roles, along with advocates who work in military or college campus environments.


Because of this diversity, throughout the year NOVA offers a variety of in-person and, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, online training opportunities – each addressing the commonalities and core competencies every advocate needs to work in the field of victim assistance.


Since 2017, NOVA has partnered closely with Appriss, due in large part to the two organizations shared commitment and mission to support and develop training for advocates, all with the ultimate goal of empowering survivors of crime with the safety knowledge they need. Appriss partnered with NOVA in observation of Crime Victims Rights Week in April of 2020, reaching more than 2,000 victim advocates. Appriss also sponsored NOVA’s national conference, its virtual 5K, and NOVA’s virtual training event in July. Appriss’ partnership has allowed NOVA to offer its skill-based trainings to victim advocates and crisis responders for free.


“We would not be able to offer all of the trainings and services to advocates for free without the support of Appriss, so Appriss has increased the accessibility of our training,” Ponder Selib said. “We also share a joint mission to supporting and providing ongoing professional training and development for victim advocates. Appriss has been a key partner in that mission.”


This key partnership will be highlighted again in an upcoming virtual panel discussion, titled “Stalking in the Digital Age: Responding to Victimization,” October 29 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. During the panel, you will learn how digital technology can be misused and hear from industry leaders in victim services and law enforcement on best practices for responding to digital stalking. 


Karen Adams


Karen Adams

Karen Adams serves as Training Manager with Appriss Insights, where she educates crime victims, service providers, advocates, law enforcement, and criminal justice professionals about technology solutions including VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) and other issues related to victim safety. In addition to a combined 30 years of experience as an administrator, trainer, facilitator, and mediator, Adams is certified as an ATD Master Trainer and holds a master’s in Management and Leadership from Webster University School of Business and Technology, and undergraduate degrees in Management and Applied Science from the University of Louisville School of Business. As a proud Louisvillian, Karen resides in Kentucky, the Bluegrass state, and has a heartfelt connection to family and friends.

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