Attorney General’s grant to Troy University will aid crime victims

Posted: Friday, 13 February 2009

TROY – A $30,000 grant will help Troy University establish Alabama’s first Victim Assistance Academy.

Attorney General Troy King and the University's Department of Criminal Justice and Social Science will establish the academy to provide training for crime victim advocates, specifically focused on advocacy resources and the problems facing victims of crime in Alabama.

“Crime victims have often been the forgotten entity of the criminal justice process,” said Dr. Jeff Lee, an associate professor of criminal justice and sociology. “This is an opportunity to help victims of crime throughout the state of Alabama by offering meaningful training to service providers. This training is the first of its kind in Alabama and I think we will become a model Academy that other states will emulate.”

Currently under way is a needs assessment for the type of training needed, the results of which will become the basis for the development of a 40-hour training curriculum that the University will deliver to Academy trainers. A steering committee of stakeholders from across the state has been formed to aid in the Academy’s development.

The first academy is scheduled to be conducted during the Summer 2010 timeframe, Lee said.

“It will offer a broad spectrum of learning opportunities and encourage the development of collaboration, reciprocation and working relationships among crime victim service providers by increasing their knowledge of and access to national, state and local resources,” he said.

Over the past decade, TROY’s criminal justice department has taken steps to enhance its curriculum to strengthen students’ understanding of the importance of victimology and the expanding legal rights of crime victims. A number of courses have been modified to increase the attention given to crime victims.

Serving on the Academy’s steering committee are representatives from TROY, the Attorney General’s Office, Montgomery Police Department, VOCAL – Victims of Crime and Leniency, Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission, Alabama Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers and the National Child Advocacy Center.