July 23, 2004 VIVA, which is short for Family Resource Center's Virgin Islands Victim Advocate program, needs more volunteers. A 12-week training course will begin on Monday, with weekly meetings scheduled from 5:45 to 8:30 p.m. in downtown Charlotte Amalie.
If you think you might like to get involved in assisting victims of crime, "Come to the meeting and decide if it's for you," Cynthia Farmer, the agency's volunteer coordinator, suggested.
Family Resource Center has been providing crisis intervention, counseling, court advocacy and community outreach programs for nearly two decades. It started VIVA two years ago after a similar program narrowed its focus, Farmer said. "We're there for somebody that needs help," she said.
Help can take many different forms. It might involve serving as an advocate for a rape victim, or assisting in a domestic violence case, or simply lending an ear. The training also will prepare volunteers to work with the Family Resource Center hotline and to serve as court monitors.
Representatives of various agencies are guest presenters at training sessions. Those from the Police Department's Domestic Violence Unit and the Justice Department discuss victims' legal rights. Staff from Roy L. Schneider Hospital explain the use of a rape kit in collecting evidence. Personnel from the Human Services Department talk about dealing with victims who are children. Someone from the Victim Compensation Program explains that sometimes victims are entitled to receive compensation. And staff from various social service agencies discuss domestic violence.
Farmer said the training also includes role playing to help advocates learn how to handle various situations.
To find out more about VIVA or to sign up for the training program, call 776-3966.
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