Advocate certification and training requirements

This is not legal advice.

This resource page was assembled by OCADSV staff for informational purposes only. The information presented on this page is not intended to be legal advice, nor does it substitute for legal advice. If you have any questions about these laws and their protections, contact a qualified attorney.

According to Oregon Revised Statutes § 40.264 (2015) and Oregon Administrative Rules 137-085, advocates are only considered to be “certified” and have legally privileged status and protections in certain communications with victims if they:

  1. have completed at least forty (40) hours of training in advocacy for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking that meets the minimum training requirements set out in OAR 137-085-0080; AND
  2. are a current employee of or a volunteer with a qualified community-, campus-, or tribal-based advocacy program.

Additionally, confidentiality protections for communications between survivors and certified advocates are promulgated through the qualified victim services program, not the individual advocate. Work performed by advocates outside the purview of their certifying victim services program may not be protected.

Communications with independent individuals or victim assistance programs that are managed by law enforcement agencies or district attorney’s offices ARE NOT protected under this law.

Legal definitions

The terms and definitions listed below are quoted directly from statute.

Certified advocate” means a person who:

(A) Has completed at least 40 hours of training in advocacy for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, approved by the Attorney General by rule; AND |LS|editor’s emphasis|RS|

(B) Is an employee or a volunteer of a qualified victim services program.

Source: Or. Rev. Stat. § 40.264 (2015).

Confidential communication” means a written or oral communication that is not intended for further disclosure, except to:

      (A) Persons present at the time the communication is made who are present to further the interests of the victim in the course of seeking safety planning, counseling, support or advocacy services;

      (B) Persons reasonably necessary for the transmission of the communication; or

      (C) Other persons, in the context of group counseling.

Source: Or. Rev. Stat. § 40.264 (2015).

Qualified victim services program” means:

(A) A nongovernmental, nonprofit, community-based program receiving moneys |LS|sic|RS| administered by the state Department of Human Services, the Oregon or United States Department of Justice, or a program administered by a tribal government that offers safety planning, counseling, support or advocacy services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking; or

(B) A sexual assault center, victim advocacy office, women’s center, student affairs center, health center or other program providing safety planning, counseling, support or advocacy services to victims that is on the campus of or affiliated with a two- or four-year post-secondary institution that enrolls one or more students who receive an Oregon Opportunity Grant.

Source: Or. Rev. Stat. § 40.264 (2015).

Editor’s note: As a general rule, qualified victim services programs are those eligible to receive formula grant funding through FVPSA, STOP VAWA formula grants for victim services, and/or SASP.

Victim” means a person seeking safety planning, counseling, support or advocacy services related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking at a qualified victims |LS|sic|RS| services program.

Source: Or. Rev. Stat. § 40.264 (2015).

Advocate training requirements

(1) For purposes of HB 3476, training that is no less than a total of 40 hours and that is substantially similar to subsections (2)–(4) of this rule is approved by the Attorney General.

(2) Training shall be comprised of a minimum of 40 hours.

(3) At least 26 hours of the training shall cover each of the following topics:

(a) Dynamics of domestic violence;

(b) Dynamics of sexual assault;

(c) Dynamics of stalking;

(d) Anti-oppression, anti-racism, cultural competency theory and practice;

(e) Effects of trauma on survivors and family members;

(f) Adults molested as children;

(g) Effects of exposure to violence on children;

(h) Dynamics of domestic violence abusers;

(i) Dynamics of sexual offenders;

(j) Vicarious traumatization and self-care;

(k) Advocacy and crisis response;

(l) Confidentiality and privilege;

(m) Advocacy skills;

(n) Working with system-based partners and other service providers.

(4) Training shall include no less than an additional 12 hours regarding SANE exams, court accompaniment, medical exam accompaniment, working with law enforcement, support group facilitation, shelter intake, working with children, campus response, or other topics as approved by the Crime Victims’ Services Division of the Department of Justice.

(5) At least 2 hours of the training shall focus on confidentiality and privilege, the Violence Against Women Act and other funding requirements relating to confidentiality, the provisions set forth in HB 3476, and related matters.

Source: Oregon Administrative Rules 137-085-0080.

Grandfather clause for existing advocates

A person employed at or volunteering with a qualified victim services program who completed 40 hours of training before October 1, 2015, that is substantially similar to training requirements described in contracts between such programs and the Department of Justice or Department of Human Services, is a “certified advocate,” at such time as the person completed an additional 2 hours (120 minutes) of training on confidentiality, advocate privilege, and HB 3476 as described in subsection (5) of this rule.

Source: Oregon Administrative Rules 137-085-0080.

Record keeping

“Each qualifying victim services program shall maintain a roster of advocates who have completed the minimum training described required by OAR 137-085-0080 and who are thus ‘certified advocates.’”

Source: Oregon Administrative Rules 137-085-0090.

Advocate certification
Best / promising practices
Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA)
Laws and regulations
Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS)
Oregon Department of Justice - Crime Victims Services Division (CVSD)
Training requirements advocates
Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Author / Source

Oregon Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence

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