NACP was pleased to introduce Maria Callava as the featured CA for March 2017!
NACP: How long have you worked in the victim assistance field?
I have worked as a VA almost 5 years, but have worked in the legal field for almost 30.
Where do you practice as an advocate now?
In the Office of the District Attorney in DeKalb County, GA.
What do you see as the benefits of credentialing?
Well, in order to obtain credentialing we have to attend periodic trainings which obviously better prepare usto serve victims. Naturally, this is our primary goal but credentialing also gives you an advantage to advance in your career path as an Advocate. In addition, I believe it confers more credibility and respect to our work.
How have others reacted to your credential?
My family, of course, is proud of me. And I know that peers and other aspiring VA’s have discussed the process with me as a means to gain knowledge and advancement in the field of victim advocacy. I am convinced that Supervisors welcome credentialing as added prestige to our Unit.
Do you have a story related to your proudest moment as a CA or credentialed advocate?
I have many – but they all involve expressions of gratitude from victims I have served. Direct quotes from victims include:
“You are God sent. ”
“…Thank you one more time. You have no idea how much your support means to me…You are a lifesaver…literally. I would not have been able to do this without you… You are one of the kindest people I have ever met!”
“Thank you for that acknowledgment and for that resource.”
“…I would not be mentally where I am had you not referred me to the WRC group…”
“Thank you for all you do and for really listening…”
I know I have been able to confidently serve these victims due to the knowledge and experience I have gained through my credentialing training as well as my advocacy work.
NACP was pleased to introduce Rosemary Raiman as the featured CA for April 2017!
NACP: How long have you worked in the victim assistance field?
ROSEMARY: Over two decades. I had my very first introduction to Domestic Violence training in 1983 in Delhi, NY with the SAV program. Since that time, I started serving actively (1995) on DV, DSS, MNADV and FRT Boards, worked as a Victim Advocate and presently serve as the DV Coordinator. I founded a Silent Witness Program for survivors/ families in our county in 1999 and volunteered as a crisis responder for the Victim Advocates office at our County Sheriff’s Office.
NACP: Where do you practice as an advocate now?
ROSEMARY: I presently serve as the Domestic Violence Coordinator at the Charles County, MD State’s Attorney’s office, and in my private life, I coordinate Advocates Working for Victims in Crisis (Silent Witness program) as an all-volunteer project.
NACP: What do you see as the benefits of credentialing?
ROSEMARY: The more education I have the better prepared I am to assist victims as they navigate the legal system. Networking with other county and state colleagues brings a great connection for meeting the sheltering needs for my clients and gaining new ideas for safety planning and available resources. Credentialing has boosted my confidence to take on leadership roles in working for Victims’ Rights. I feel more comfortable presenting in front of my colleagues and taking the lead in starting our county’s Fatality Review Committee.
NACP: How have others reacted to your credential?
They have been very interested and impressed. I have earned a level of respect from colleagues, attorneys and judges for the knowledge I have and for the work they have seen me complete. I’ve been invited by the judges to provide lunchtime training about DV, and others in the Courthouse call on me to help with a variety of problems, usually to provide crisis intervention to someone in need. Approximately two years ago, the Charles County Commission for Women started a Clothes Closet for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. They gave me the honor of naming this resource for clothing Rosemary’s Closet, due to my years of victim service. I am so proud of this and often collect items from my courthouse colleagues to deliver to the closet located at LifeStyles, Inc.
My colleagues and I think NACP credentialing is a great program and gives us more credibility. Years ago, we tried to seek out credentialing before the NACP program started and had to go to South Carolina at the time as one of the few victim advocate certification programs in the country. I am a proud early graduate of the Stephanie Roper Maryland State Victim Assistance Academy. [The Roper Academy is a NACP Pre-Approved Introductory Advocacy Training program]
NACP: Do you display your NACP credential and use the “CA” after your name professionally?
ROSEMARY: Yes! My credential hangs on my wall and although I have many certificates, I am very proud of this one. Why wouldn’t someone display the certificate and use the CA after their name? This gives us credibility in our field and when the victims I serve and my colleagues see it, they know I have the knowledge and skills to do this work.
NACP: Do you have a story related to your proudest moment as a CA or credentialed advocate?
There have been several. I recall sitting with a domestic violence victim (who was nearly killed) as she had to review the horrendous, bloody photos taken of her after the domestic violence assault in preparation for trial. Going over the details with the attorneys and sitting through stressful court hearings, her seemingly most embarrassing issue was the damage done to her teeth. She would hold her hand over her mouth to hide the lost one in front. After several attempts to find a program or a dentist that might even consider helping her with a reduced charge or a payment plan, my own dentist stepped up and did ALL her dental work at NO charge. The other proud moment I’d like to share is a statement made by a colleague (Karen Hartz) regarding me in 2014:
“Rosemary Raiman has been a dedicated domestic violence advocate for over 20 years. She is sensitive enough to be moved by those who have suffered at the hands of people who claimed to have loved them: yet, she is strong enough to confront domestic violence head on. She has an endless reservoir of compassion for those who need her advocacy but has been described as protecting victims from harm with the fierceness of a lioness.”
These relationships with colleagues and in the example above, my dentist, are enhanced by my training, my work and my credential – all of which give me the professional credibility as a victim advocate. I am proud to be among the first 200 NACP credentialed advocates in the country and one of only 7 in Maryland when I received my NACP credential in 2006.