RI State Victim Assistance Academy at RWU Graduates 53 Professionals

Family Service of RI and RWU’s Justice System Training & Research Institute deliver training program for victim service providers

By Grace Boland
2023 RISVAA graduates

BRISTOL, R.I. – Fifty-three victim service providers graduated this week from the Rhode Island State Victim Assistance Academy (RISVAA), a comprehensive training program that equips professionals with best practices for helping victims of crime and builds strong collaborative partnerships within the victim services community across the state. 

The RISVAA is conducted by Family Service of Rhode Island and hosted by Roger Williams University’s Justice System Training & Research Institute (JSTRI). At a celebration at RWU on Tuesday, Aug. 8, the graduates received their certificates for completing the 40-hour foundational-level program. These professionals work at family assistance organizations, women's and children’s shelters, and hospitals, including Family Services of Rhode Island, Hasbro Children's Hospital, Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, and more.  

At Tuesday’s celebration, Meghan McDonough L’09, Assistant Rhode Island Attorney General and Chief of the Special Victims Unit, expressed her gratitude for those who do victim advocacy work. “You are here to serve the most vulnerable populations, and I’m so appreciative of you dedicating your personal and professional lives to this cause,” she said. 

Housed within the RWU School of Justice Studies, JSTRI provides foundational and specialized trainings for justice system professionals, while also creating the potential for undergraduate and graduate students to develop research and internship opportunities that support agency missions. 

“Roger Williams University’s Justice System Training & Research Institute is a model for the way RWU develops advanced professionalism within our workforce and provides professional development courses to meet the evolving needs of the justice system, particularly with our leadership and management programs,” said David Lambert, JSTRI Director and Interim Dean of the School of Justice Studies. “The practitioners in JSTRI’s programs come from a variety of agencies from across New England that support the criminal justice system, so this partnership is a terrific way for the aspiring generations of criminal justice professionals to interact with and learn from members of the community daily.”