How to Become a Victim Advocate
What Is a Victim Advocate?
Victim vs. Survivor
- Criminal justice system
- Local government offices
- Counseling centers
- Universities and colleges
- Medical facilities
- Social services programs
- Nonprofit organizations
Victim advocate salary will vary by employer, job location and years of experience among other factors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that advocacy is an important part of social work and provides the following information about median annual salary as of May 2020, based on the specific settings where social work professionals may find work:
• $57,660: Local government, excluding education and hospitals
• $52,850: Ambulatory healthcare services
• $49,860: State government, excluding education and hospitals
• $43,820: Individual and family services
Victim advocacy can be a demanding career, but professionals may find the impact to be rewarding, especially if they enjoy helping others.
“I still love and enjoy and get so much meaning out of this work,” Kolcum said.
She encouraged aspiring advocates to be intentional about self-care and work-life balance. “You can’t show up for other people unless you’re showing up for yourself,” she said.
Victim advocates do not need to be a licensed clinical social worker, nor do they need a victim advocate license to be employed.
Though it is not required, aspiring advocates may find it beneficial to pursue higher education in the field of social work because they will learn about the fundamentals and complexities of macro-level systems that affect victim advocacy, as well as strategies for counseling and other services that can help survivors.
Yes, some colleges and universities offer a concentration in victim advocacy services that covers specialized courses for learning how to provide services to crime victims, survivors of domestic violence and clients with a history of trauma.
Some universities also offer certificates designed for professionals who are already working in the fields of social work or criminal justice and are seeking more information about how to support victims or provide advocacy.