Family violence advocates work to protect and defend the constitutional rights and civil liberties of those who have suffered or are at risk of suffering violence within the family unit.
Family violence advocates may work directly with survivors of domestic violence. They might also work with hospitals and law enforcement agencies, and they often lobby for the passage of federal and state policies and regulations dealing with family violence.
Other duties of a family violence advocate may include evaluating the administration of family violence services offered by the government, coordinating with public and private agencies, managing the distribution of information regarding family violence, and offering public education programs and materials to raise awareness regarding family violence.
Family violence advocates should have excellent communication skills, both oral and written, and a strong passion for social justice.
There is no specific educational path to a career as a family violence advocate, but an associate or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or social work can serve as a strong foundation. A master’s degree in either subject may also be helpful, as can a Juris Doctor (law) degree, especially for managerial positions.
Helpful coursework for aspiring family violence advocates may include accounting, management, finance, marketing, sociology, statistics, and possibly even a second language such as Spanish.
Advocates can gain invaluable experience by volunteering at various agencies that promote the rights of family violence victims and other causes; employers often prefer candidates who have such related experience.