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In honor of those who have fallen victim to crime. In memory of those whose lives have ended too soon.
Dedicated to those who work to make the world a better place.

About This Course

This program is designed to train and qualify students to provide assistance to crime victims. The course provides an overview of criminal procedure and discusses the devastating effects crime can have on its victims.

Course Objectives

  • Define the rights and responsibilities of a victim advocate
  • Summarize the relevant legislation regarding victim advocacy and background of victim advocacy
  • Summarize the American legal system and the American system of government
  • Discuss both the civil and criminal litigation processes
  • Discuss how crime affects victims
  • Identify the elements of the grief process and PTSD
  • Explain how to work with the victim’s family and the media definitions of racism, sexism, and heterosexism
  • Define classism, ageism, and ableism
  • Demonstrate how to respond to victims of hate crimes
  • Explain guidelines for death notification and for providing support after death notification
  • Identify victim advocacy skills for working with surviving family members of a homicide victim
  • Identify suicide behavioral distress signals
  • Demonstrate techniques for assisting suicidal persons and tools for suicide prevention
  • Identify patterns of domestic violence
  • List characteristics of abusers and victims
  • Explain how to counsel victims of domestic violence
  • Discuss how to recognize signs of child abuse
  • Identify common Myths Regarding Rape
  • Describe the effects of sexual assault and rape
  • Demonstrate how to respond to victims of sexual assault and rape
  • Identify the elements of sexual abuse, child neglect, physical abuse, and emotional abuse
  • Identify techniques for intervention and support in child abuse situations


Students will be expected to spend an average of at least 12 hours per lesson reading and completing writing assignments. Please note that, extensions will not be granted for this course. This course is the equivalent of at least 50 course contact hours. 70% is the minimum passing score on all tests and assignments for this course.

Course Books

Required textbooks for this course:

  • Victim Advocacy Manual, available from The Center for Legal Studies Online Store.

For more information, call The Center for Legal Studies at 888-407-5138, or visit our Online Store to order.

Reading Assignments for Lesson Topics:

Lesson One: Introduction Victim Advocacy and Legislation regarding Victim Right
Read Chapters 1 & 2 in Victim Advocacy Manual (Manual)

Lesson Two: Introduction to the Legal Process and Effects of Victimization on the Victim
Read Chapters 3 & 4 in Manual

Lesson Three: Victim Advocate Skills and “ISMs” (a look at bias in victim advocacy)
Read Chapters 5 & 6 in Manual

Lesson Four: Assault, Battery, and Robbery and Homicide & Suicide
Read Chapters 7 & 8 in Manual

Lesson Five: Domestic Violence
Read Chapter 9 in Manual

Lesson Six: Sexual Assault/Rape and Child Abuse
Read Chapters 10 & 11 in Manual

Lesson Seven: Job Hunting Techniques
Read Chapter 12 in Manual


For the first six lesson’s topic you will submit a 50-point short answer/essay assignment covering the topics in your lesson’s reading. There is no assignment for Lesson Seven.


You will complete two exams. Each is worth 100 points. The first exam is due with your Lesson Four Assignments; the last exam is due with your Lesson Six Assignments.

Reflections Assignments:

You will also post your responses to 11 reflection assignments. These assignments will be submitted with your lesson assignments and make up your class participation grade. All lesson objectives, assignments, and tests can be found in the Lesson Material packet and/or your required text.


Your grade will be based on your completion of six writing assignments, two exams, and class participation.

Your final grade will be figured as follows:

  • The six assignments are worth 50 points each and comprise 40% of your grade.
  • The two exams are worth 100 points and comprise 40% of your grade.
  • Your participation in class participation assignments comprises 20% of your grade.

Refund Policy

  • Students have 30 days from the date they register for the Text-Only format of the course to return all course materials and drop the class to receive a refund less a $50 non-refundable administrative fee. Materials including all printed packets and handouts, must be received by CLS in new condition no less then 30 days from the date of purchase. No items will be accepted after 30 days.
  • If students drop after 30 days from their registration date no refund will be issued.


The Center for Legal Studies gratefully acknowledges contributions to the development of this course: Patty Mosher, Victim Assistance Program Director in Douglas County, Colorado, for providing access to her program and research materials; Leigh Builder, Victim Assistance Advocate in Atlanta, Georgia, for providing national information and research materials; Joseph Arseneau, former police officer and educational researcher, for providing research development and contacts as well as initial inspiration for the certificate program format; Annalisa Philbin, J.D. for her legal expertise; and Dr. Alison Hatch, former Director of Continuing Education at the Center for Legal Studies, and former Legal Victim Assistant in Boulder Colorado, for editing and researching.