Victim Advocate: Job Description & Career Info

In general, victim advocates assist individuals who have been abused or assaulted, either domestically or by strangers. Continue reading for more information about career preparation and outlook, as well as potential salaries for professionals in this important line of work.

View popular schools

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Anthropology
  • Archeology
  • Criminology and Criminalistics - General
  • Global Studies
  • Multidisciplinary or Interdisciplinary Studies, Other
  • Peace Studies
  • Physical Anthropology
  • Population Studies
  • Science, Technology, and Society, General
  • Sociology, General
  • Systems Science and Theory
  • Urban Studies
  • Work and Family Studies

Career Definition of a Victim Advocate

Victim advocate jobs are typically often found within a district attorney's office. They may also be funded by non-profit groups, such as those concerned with rape victims or those who have been subjected to domestic abuse. Victim advocates' duties include working with the victim to explain legal procedures and available resources, along with encouraging and supporting the victim throughout the court process. They also try to minimize the physical, psychological and emotional consequence on the crime victim.

Advocates may attend court with the victim and help them obtain court injunctions if necessary. Areas of specialization can include sexual assault or stalking. Victim advocates also perform administrative duties, such as keeping statistics, improving services, investigating complaints and training new staff. Employment may take place in a variety of settings, including hospitals, community programs, jails and shelters.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree preferred; possible to gain positions through certification or an associate's degree in a related field
Job Skills Compassionate communication skills, good problem-solving skills, good ability to work as a member of a team and familiarity with court procedure
Median Salary (2015)* $58,560 (all social workers)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 12% (all social workers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

While it is possible to become a victim advocate by completing a certificate or an associate's degree in a relevant field of study, a bachelor's degree in psychology, criminal justice or social work is preferred. The coursework should include classes in interpersonal communication. An employer may also require counseling or case management experience; some victim advocates train on the job.

Skills Required

The ability to listen is key to working as a victim advocate, as well as a strong sense of compassion and empathy for clients. Other skills may include the ability to identify problems and participate in team problem-solving efforts, along with advocacy and counseling skills. Knowledge of court procedure is also useful.

Career and Salary Outlook

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics BLS) does not keep job outlook and salary data for victim advocates, information for social workers is available. From 2014 to 2024, employment opportunities for social workers nationwide are expected to grow by 12%. The median annual salary for a social worker was approximately $58,560 as of May 2015.

Alternate Career Options

Similar career options in this field include:

Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists

Counselors and therapists provide assistance to people struggling with emotional difficulties, mental health disorders or family and marital issues. In addition to listening actively and asking questions, they also help clients understand the reasons for their problems and help them develop coping strategies. In general, a master's degree in family and marriage or clinical counseling and a license are required to enter the field.

According to the BLS, job opportunities for mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists across the country are expected to increase by a faster-than-average rate of 19% between 2014 to 2024. As of May 2015, mental health counselors received median yearly salaries of $41,880, while professionals employed as marriage and family therapists earned $48,600.

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

Professionals who work in probation and corrections monitor the activities of criminal offenders and try to help them avoid further violations of the law. Educational requirements typically include a bachelor's degree, as well as successful completion of oral, psychological and written exams. In May 2015, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists earned median annual wages of $49,360, with a 4% growth employment nationwide predicted between 2014 and 2024, as reported by the BLS.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • Master of Liberal Arts

    What is your highest level of education?

    • BA: Liberal Studies
    • BA: Sociology
    • BA: Sociology - Applied & Clinical
    • BA: Sociology - Diversity & Inequality
    • AA: Liberal Arts

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies
    • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Interdisciplinary Studies
    • B.S. in Cyber & Digital Forensics

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Undergraduate Specialization - Criminal Forensics

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • General Studies, A.A.

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • MS in Data Science: Social Science Analytics
    • Master of Professional Studies in Cyber Policy and Risk Analysis
    • MS in Data Science: Financial Crime
    • BS in Cybersecurity - Cybercrime and Fraud Investigation
    • Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation
    • BS in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Financial Investigation
    • BS in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Fraud Prevention and Detection

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MS in Criminal Justice Behavior Management

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Associate of Arts

    What is your highest level of education completed?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?