Domestic Violence Prevention Counselor Job Description, Career as a Domestic Violence Prevention Counselor, Salary, Employment
Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job
Education and Training Bachelor’s degree
Average Salary $43,000
Job Outlook Very good
Basic Job Description
Domestic violence counselors work with families, usually women and children, who are being physically, sexually or emotionally abused by other family members. A counselor will often observe family habits, speak with each family member one-on-one, and help find living arrangements for family members who can no longer stay in the home. They usually work for government agencies, social work agencies, family welfare groups, or other non-profit organizations. Some work with school counselors or with church programs to provide somewhere for victims to reach out for help.
Education and Training Requirements
To become a domestic violence prevention counselor, a Bachelor’s degree in social work or a related field is usually required. The requirements vary by state and typically require a state certification that is administered after a student takes a test and meets the certification and education requirements.
Many states also require domestic violence prevention counselors to complete a certain number of hours in the field before becoming certified. This is done by working along with a counselor and observing how daily work is performed, assisting them with paperwork, assisting them in counseling sessions with families, and other tasks the counselor performs on a daily basis. After a certain number of hours are completed a student is then qualified to take the state test and complete their certification.
Getting the Job
In order to get a job as a domestic violence prevention counselor, the first step is completing the state requirements and obtaining a certification.
To succeed in the field of domestic violence prevention, the ideal candidate will be calm, approachable and friendly in order to make patients and victims of domestic violence feel safe, welcome and relaxed. The counselor will be able to listen to each family member and have a complete understanding of the needs of each member.
Domestic violence prevention counselors will also be able to educate families and provide resources on how to communicate effectively without the use of violence. If there is serious violence going on, counselors are required to contact law enforcement authorities to take necessary steps if parents need to be arrested or children need to be removed from the home.
Aside from understanding the law and having a firm grasp on how to deal with patients, counselors must stand by confidentiality laws as well. These laws vary by state and often according to specific case, but counselors must give their patients confidence that they can talk to them and reach out without the risk of the counselor betraying their trust. There are certain situations where a counselor is required to take action if a patient tells them something, such as threats to harm themselves or another individual, but there is a thin line as to what must be kept private between a patient and their counselor. It is the counselors job to know where the line of confidentiality must be drawn.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development
Jobs in the field of domestic violence prevention counseling are very good and expected to rise, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Counselors are being placed in schools more often, as well as working in community organizations and with law enforcement. They are used to track down abusive family members and provide more education throughout communities to prevent violence and encourage children who are living in an abusive home to speak up.
Many domestic violence prevention counselors start working in schools to counsel and educate students, and over time move on to work in a government agency. Some counselors will work with social work agencies and attend house visits with social workers to talk with family members and observe how families are living.
Working Conditions and Environment
Most counselors work in an office and have patients make appointments for visits. Some have entire families come in for visits, while others may work specifically with children who are suffering from domestic violence or with parents who need to learn how to discipline their children. Others work in schools to give students a place to reach out about issues that may be going on in the home.
Domestic violence prevention counselors must be prepared to work in tense or uncomfortable situations. If a counselor is dealing with an entire family, they must be able to work as a middle ground that can listen to each family member and patiently console them as well as educate them on how to properly deal with arguments or tense situations.
Some counselors may be required to make house visits to observe families, and need to be prepared to deal with violent or uncontrollable situations going on in the home. They must know who to contact in case of emergencies or what to do if they witness a family member assaulting another.
In some cases, a counselor may be required to show up in court if a family situation escalates to that point. Court appointments usually involve social workers instead of counselors, but some cases may require the counselor to be there as well.
Salary and Benefits
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a domestic violence prevention counselor is $43,000 per year. Salaries can vary depending on where a counselor works. If a counselor works for a government agency, there is potential to make more than a counselor working in a grade school. Government employment also provides secure benefits for health insurance and vacation or sick time. Counselors who work in schools also have the health and vacation benefits of teachers, such as a full health insurance plan and time off for holidays, weekends and summer vacations.
Aside from financial benefits, a domestic violence prevention counselor can benefit by knowing they are helping families avoid violence. Counselors know they are making a difference by helping to lock up criminal child abusers or remove children from a home in which they are suffering from abuse or neglect. For many counselors, there is no better feeling than knowing they improve the lives of families by educating them, preventing abuse and getting them away from an abusive environment.
Where to Go for More Information
Partners in Prevention
13918 E Mississippi Avenue
Aurora, CO 80012
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