SC passed a law to establish certification and continuing education requirements for Victim Service Provider (VSPs). This fact sheet answers questions from the field.

Who has to be certified?
  • Anyone employed by a local government or state agency whose job duties include providing mandated victim services (Article 15 of SC Code of Laws); or
  • Anyone employed by a SC victim assistance organization (as defined by the agency’s mission) whose job duties include providing direct victim services.
Who has to be certified as a Notifier/Support Staff?
  • Anyone employed by a summary court or detention center whose job duties include providing notification to crime victims.

Even if providing victim services is not the employee’s main job, the employee must be certified if he or she provides direct victim services (e.g., victim notification of hearings, assistance with compensation claims, counseling assistance). This requirement is for full and part-time employees.

Do volunteers have to be certified as VSPs or Notifiers/Support Staff?

Though it is not required that volunteers become certified through OVSEC, it is recommended. If a volunteer VSP or Notifier/Support Staff becomes employed to provide direct victim services they should let OVSEC know immediately.

What are the requirements for certification?

VSP certification requirements include 15 hours of basic training for new employees. There is also an annual continuing education requirement of 12 hours after the completion of the basic training requirement. Notifiers/Support Staff have a 2 hour training track they must complete every other calendar year. Specific hourly requirements can be seen on the OVSEC Training Requirements tab.

If I am new to victim services, how long do I have to get certified?

VSPs employed in a SC public or private nonprofit programs after January 1, 2009, are required to complete basic certification requirements within one year from the date of employment. They also must meet annual continuing education requirements to maintain certification throughout their employment.

Who provides the training?
  • VSPs are able to get training from a variety of approved sources, including organizational, local, state, regional, and national trainings.
  • Notifiers/Support Staff are able to get training from organizational, local, state and regional trainings as long as they follow the Notifier/Support Staff training track and have been submitted to OVSEC for approval in advance.
  • OVSEC only approves and advertises trainings for sponsoring organizations/agencies. OVSEC does not provide any training.
If my organization is hosting a victim service related training, how can we get the training approved by OVSEC?

For a training to be approved in advance, or accredited, an Accreditation Application, course outline and other information must be submitted to OVSEC by the training sponsor or presenter at least 30 days prior to the training. You can access the Accreditation Application on OVSEC’s home page.

How do I get credit for attending an OVSEC accredited training?

The only way a VSP or Notifier/Support Staff can get credit for attending an OVSEC accredited training is by signing OVSEC’s official VSP, Notfier/Support Staff Training Sign-Out Sheets. OVSEC will not accept a certificate of attendance as proof of attendance for accredited trainings. In addition, a VSP or Notifier/Support Staff must attend the entire training in order to receive OVSEC credit. The only exception for this requirement is you are attending a multi-day training, or the training has simultaneous workshops, with sign-out sheets provided for each day and/or session. If a VSP or Notifier/Support Staff has to leave early or arrive late due to an emergency, they should speak to the training sponsor immediately.

Can I get credit for attending a training that was not accredited by OVSEC?

A VSP may get credit for attending a victim service related training that wasn’t approved in advance by submitting a Non-Accredited Certification Request, course outline, proof of attendance and other information to OVSEC within 30 days of attending the training. You can access the Non-Accredited Certification Request on OVSEC’s home page.

Can I get credit for presenting at an OVSEC accredited training?

VSPs can receive up to 6.0 hours of credit each calendar year for presenting at OVSEC accredited trainings only. OVSEC cannot issue credit for presenting at non-accredited trainings. VSPs who present at an OVSEC accredited training, and wish to receive credit, must sign the OVSEC Presenter Sign-Out Sheets. If a presenter attends the remainder of the training, and would like OVSEC credit, they must also sign the VSP, Notifiers/Support Staff Training Sign-Out Sheets.

What if I am unable to complete my required hours due to a medical condition?

The Office of Victim Services Education and Certification (OVSEC) may waive the training and certification requirements when the applicant's failure to meet such requirements was the result of a medical condition. The decision to grant a waiver shall be made by the Director on a case-by-case basis that considers the relevant factors, including, the severity, duration and timing of the medical condition, and presentation of a medical excuse with the treating doctor’s name and the dates that you were excused. If the Director denies a request for a waiver, the applicant may appeal to the Victim Services Coordinating Council.

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