Training & Education


Watch the new CLE Course:
Defense-Initiated Victim Outreach: Policies, Practices and Implementation.

    DIVO sponsors training opportunities for criminal attorneys, Victim
    Outreach Specialists, and victim advocates.

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Education and Training Information

DIVO offers educational programs for defense attorneys, people interested in becoming Victim Outreach Specialists, and criminal justice professionals.  DIVO recognizes that outreach to crime victims by the defense is a radical departure from the customary divisions mandated by the criminal justice system.  It therefore takes time, discussion and reflection which are hallmarks of the DIVO learning experience.

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Training for Victim Outreach Specialists

For Victim Outreach Specialists, DIVO offers intensive 40-hour trainings at various locations in Texas.  Training is based on the successful model developed by the Council for Restorative Justice at Georgia State University.  Training is done by a team of DIVO specialists from throughout the United States including Richard Burr, Esq., John Niland, Esq., Dr. Pamela Leonard, Esq., Dr. Marilyn Armour, Executive Director of IRJ&RD, Stephanie Frogge, Project Coordinator for DIVO, and Sheryl Wilson, VOS from Georgia.

Training includes modules on the following areas:

  • The philosophy and principles of DIVO
  • Needs and perspectives of victim-survivors
  • Crime victims and trauma
  • Defense and prosecution perspectives
  • Role of Victim Outreach Specialists
  • Process and procedures of DIVO

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Training for Criminal Lawyers

For capital litigants, criminal defense counsel and judges interested in learning more about DIVO, IRJRD offers a free, online, on-demand course accredited by the Texas State Bar for 3 hours of CLE including .5 hours of ethics. Faculty includes Richard Burr, Esq., John Niland, Esq., Pamela Leonard, and Dr. Marilyn Armour, Director of IRJRD.


Training includes modules on the following areas:

  • Development of DIVO
  • Foundational principles of DIVO
  • Ethics of DIVO
  • Legal precedents for DIVO
  • Using DIVO in litigation
  • Prosecutor perspectives on DIVO
  • Procedures and motions for funding DIVO

Access the three-hour course here.

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Presentations for Victim Advocates and Other Stakeholders

Upon request, DIVO staff make presentations to victim advocate groups, law firms, criminal law sections of regional bar associations, law school classes, and crime victim support groups. Topics covered include the following:

  • DIVO aims and objectives.
  • Origins of DIVO and its development at the federal and state levels.
  • Research in support of DIVO.
  • The trauma bond between crime victims and defendants.
  • Comparison of needs of crime victims and defense attorneys.
  • Training of Victim Outreach Specialists and defense attorneys.
  • Case examples.
  • Concerns about DIVO.