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Victim Advocate (also known as Child Advocate and Court Advocate)

Explore the Victim Advocate career

For victims of domestic violence and abuse, having an advocate on their side, one who understands cycles of violence, advocacy techniques, and how the justice system handles abuse, eases the fear and anxiety (see Anxiety) that often accompanies a complex, confusing, and traumatic process.

Depending on the specialty, domestic violence advocates can be called child advocates, court advocates, and victims' advocates. But regardless of their titles, all advocates help victims navigate through social service agencies, police procedures, court cases, and offer career guidance, and advice on everything from child welfare services to obtaining food stamps and other government assistance.

The horrors of physical, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse, or as in many cases, a combination of abuses, leaves victims disempowered and feeling helpless. An advocate starts the victim on the road to recovery by offering unconditional acceptance, and directing them to community resources, counselors, and others in the mental health field who can help them change and improve their lives.

Advocates work in a variety of settings, in local police stations, courts, women's shelters, health care and community organizations, state and federal government entities, and national associations. Sometimes they become self-employed consultants, providing counseling and other services to abuse victims.

Job responsibilities vary, but those who work for nonprofits such as women's shelters or victim abuse centers are often asked to juggle several responsibilities. They help traumatized and frightened victims develop safety plans, or direct victims to shelters, and help victims find jobs or apply for student loans in order to return to school.

Some nonprofits and community organizations have advocates working on fundraising events, writing grants, or providing basic clerical functions. These groups also employ advocates to conduct risk assessments with victims, receive daily referrals from law enforcement, and educate victims about the dynamics of domestic violence and abuse.

Community agencies employ advocates to organize and run programs, such as Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART) that respond 24-hours a day. Advocates that work for these agencies are often called into emergency rooms, police stations, and universities.

Some advocates deliver educational services to schools, PTAs, health care professionals, and policymakers. They give presentations and training sessions on identifying abuse victims, intervention methods, and offer lists of available resources and agencies.

They also testify before state legislatures and the U.S. Congress, advocating for laws that better protect victims and their children, and for programs to assist victims who are trying to regain a sense of individuality and purpose. This can also involve actually writing legislation or writing for magazines and websites on domestic violence issues.

Because many victims are emotionally and physically taxed, they need guidance on how to file legal papers, how to appear in court, and how to talk and answer questions by judges and attorneys. Court dates mean that victims will have to face perpetrators, so advocates accompany victims to court, and also counsel them on handling this stressful encounter.

Often a bachelor's or master's degree is required to work as an advocate along with specialized training. States have domestic violence certification programs that prepare individuals for work as domestic violence advocates.

Many organizations also need volunteers, which is great way to get experience working in the field, and often leads to permanent employment.

Advocates with a background in psychology are highly valued, and in order to advance to more executive level positions within organizations, an advanced degree is required. If you are interested in impacting lives, and providing a supportive voice for victims of domestic abuse and violence, request information from schools offering degrees in psychology.

Psychology Schools & Colleges
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5 Programs in
Online
  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Potential students may preview a free, one-week mini course to get an accurate impression of the student experience.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
Show more [+]
  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Potential students may preview a free, one-week mini course to get an accurate impression of the student experience.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Programs in
Online
  • A member of The Russell Group of 24 UK research-led universities.
  • Ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide.
  • Teaches students are from over 160 countries worldwide.
  • Holds full accreditation with degrees widely recognized internationally.
  • Degrees pursued online will look the same as degrees pursued on campus.
  • Its Royal Charter has allowed it to independently award bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees since 1903.
  • Over 6,000 international students on campus.
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  • A member of The Russell Group of 24 UK research-led universities.
  • Ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide.
  • Teaches students are from over 160 countries worldwide.
  • Holds full accreditation with degrees widely recognized internationally.
  • Degrees pursued online will look the same as degrees pursued on campus.
  • Its Royal Charter has allowed it to independently award bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees since 1903.
  • Over 6,000 international students on campus.
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
5 Programs in
Online
  • Students can enroll at any time and begin studies in the fall, spring, or summer.
  • 9 out of 10 Florida Tech Students who apply, qualify for some type of aid, based on a Fall 2012 internal survey.
  • The average freshman retention rate is 77.3 percent.
  • Ranked #39 in Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Reports
  • Among the more than 50,000 alumni include several astronauts, CEOs, and 32 generals.
  • Special tuition rate available for active duty, selected reserves, National Guard service members and their spouses.
Show more [+]
  • Students can enroll at any time and begin studies in the fall, spring, or summer.
  • 9 out of 10 Florida Tech Students who apply, qualify for some type of aid, based on a Fall 2012 internal survey.
  • The average freshman retention rate is 77.3 percent.
  • Ranked #39 in Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Reports
  • Among the more than 50,000 alumni include several astronauts, CEOs, and 32 generals.
  • Special tuition rate available for active duty, selected reserves, National Guard service members and their spouses.
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
5 Programs in
Campus
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • Main campus located in Chicago, Illinois with additional campuses in Southern California, Washington D.C., and online.
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  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • Main campus located in Chicago, Illinois with additional campuses in Southern California, Washington D.C., and online.
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  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
5 Programs in
Online
  • Ranked among the Best Online Graduate Business Programs and Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Financial aid is available for students who quality, with more than $1,000,000 through 10 scholarships.
  • Offers 24/7 student services, including financial aid help, course registration, and career counseling.
  • Students may opt in for a two week, risk-free trial period.
  • Active-duty military, veterans, and Veteran’s Administration employees can save 15% on tuition.
Show more [+]
  • Ranked among the Best Online Graduate Business Programs and Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Financial aid is available for students who quality, with more than $1,000,000 through 10 scholarships.
  • Offers 24/7 student services, including financial aid help, course registration, and career counseling.
  • Students may opt in for a two week, risk-free trial period.
  • Active-duty military, veterans, and Veteran’s Administration employees can save 15% on tuition.
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Programs in
Campus
  • Phoenix Career Services™ help students find careers that match their interests & map out a personalized career plan.
  • Mentorships & networking opportunities available through Alumni Association of 800,000+ graduates.
  • Flexible start date and class schedules.
  • 100+ locations and online options.
  • Offers special military rates and special advisors who have a military background.
  • Students can earn credits for applicable military training and education.
Show more [+]
  • Phoenix Career Services™ help students find careers that match their interests & map out a personalized career plan.
  • Mentorships & networking opportunities available through Alumni Association of 800,000+ graduates.
  • Flexible start date and class schedules.
  • 100+ locations and online options.
  • Offers special military rates and special advisors who have a military background.
  • Students can earn credits for applicable military training and education.
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
1 Programs in
Online
  • Online MBA program ranked 6th in the USA by CEO magazine. 
  • In a university-sponsored survey, 4 out of 5 alumni reported being satisfied with their experience.
  • #1 Online School for military veterans according to Military Times.
  • 75,000+ graduates across all industries offer extensive networking opportunities. 
  • My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.) lets students watch, view, read, or hear content. 
  • Smartphone app available for on-the-go learning. 
Show more [+]
  • Online MBA program ranked 6th in the USA by CEO magazine. 
  • In a university-sponsored survey, 4 out of 5 alumni reported being satisfied with their experience.
  • #1 Online School for military veterans according to Military Times.
  • 75,000+ graduates across all industries offer extensive networking opportunities. 
  • My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.) lets students watch, view, read, or hear content. 
  • Smartphone app available for on-the-go learning. 
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Programs in
Online
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • In a 2013 survey, 83% of students said they would recommend the university to others.
  • Most degree-seeking online and campus-based students are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
  • Average class sizes is 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Founded in 1937 in Davenport, Iowa as the American Institute of Commerce (AIC).
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  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • In a 2013 survey, 83% of students said they would recommend the university to others.
  • Most degree-seeking online and campus-based students are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
  • Average class sizes is 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Founded in 1937 in Davenport, Iowa as the American Institute of Commerce (AIC).
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Programs in
Online
  • Delivering quality education and personalized attention to students since 1899.
  • Provides a range of campus experiences and services online including advising, tutoring, student community, and career services.
  • Counseling services and a 24/7 crisis hotline is available at no charge to all students.
  • Career assistants help students and alumni with resumes, cover letters, job hunting, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Delivering quality education and personalized attention to students since 1899.
  • Provides a range of campus experiences and services online including advising, tutoring, student community, and career services.
  • Counseling services and a 24/7 crisis hotline is available at no charge to all students.
  • Career assistants help students and alumni with resumes, cover letters, job hunting, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Programs in
Online
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits