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Welcome all advocates! Application for Class O is closed. We hope you consider applying to the next ALC class. more

What is the Advocacy Learning Center?

Whether we work with survivors of sexual assault or battering, with trafficked or prostituted women, advocates share the same vision: An end to violence against women.

The goal of the Advocacy Learning Center is to strengthen the core activities, skills, principles, and knowledge used by advocates working in all areas of violence against women.

This will be a rare opportunity for us to come together, connect, and learn from each other.

We will reshape and revitalize our advocacy programs with the short-term goal of improving our response to the women and survivors who turn to us for help and the long-term goal of ending violence against women.

The Advocacy Learning Center is an 18-month experiential course created to examine the vision, identify the principles and knowledge, and practice the skills and qualities that make advocacy a powerful force in the movement to end violence against women.

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Working with other advocates, you will develop new ways to define and structure advocacy, from engaging and working with survivors to strategizing and acting to change systems and community responses.

The Learning Center curriculum presents conceptual frameworks and theoretical foundations that can strengthen the application of advocacy in any setting.

The Learning Center curriculum includes 3 content components:

1. Advocacy Frameworks
These conceptual frameworks are useful in defining and structuring all advocacy efforts to end violence against women.

The Core Activities of Advocacy
The central feature of the course curriculum is an advocacy framework that can be used to define, structure, and evaluate our work. Whether we are working directly with survivors, creating systems change, or organizing in our communities, advocacy is characterized by six core activities—connecting, understanding, analyzing, strategizing, implementing, and adapting.

The framework that these activities provide distinguishes advocacy work from other fields, such as psychology, social work, and law, all of which greatly influence advocacy but are distinct from it. By examining each activity and learning the particular skills, knowledge, principles, and qualities necessary to carry out the activity, we can improve both our advocacy practice and the philosophical approach that it is built upon.

The Features of Institutions and the Methods That Institutions Use to Coordinate Their Workers
Course participants will learn to recognize problematic characteristics typical of institutions that process large numbers of cases of violence against women. Advocates can be more effective in institutional change work if they know how to identify features that maintain the status quo. They will also learn the methods institutions use to make the ways workers talk about and act on cases relevant to women’s/survivor’s experience and needs. Changing problematic institutional practice requires changing these methods.

2. Advocacy Foundations
This component presents theories and philosophical approaches fundamental to ending violence against women. Learners will examine the scope of the problem, place advocacy in a historical and global context, and connect the everyday practices of advocacy to the wider movement to end violence against women and to other social change movements.

3. Advocacy Applied
Front-line advocates will acquire transferable skills and develop qualities necessary to apply the knowledge, principles, and tools they are gaining through the Advocacy Learning Center. Participating program managers and directors will consider how to restructure and change operations in their organizations to support front-line staff as they apply the knowledge, frameworks, and new advocacy skills they have learned.

arrowWho is it for?

Teams of 2-3 advocates from independent, community-based advocacy organizations, tribal advocacy programs, campus programs or transitional housing programs receiving funds from the federal Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) as well as community-based advocacy partners of OVW-funded projects and sub-grantees of state STOP funds. Advocates working in government-based victim assistance programs may be selected by a local advocacy program to participate on their program’s team, e.g. prosecution or law enforcement victim assistants. A limited number of non-grantee advocacy programs may also be selected. We also reserve a limited number of spaces for tribal, state, territory and national coalitions and groups that are OVW-funded.

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OVW grant programs include:

  • Consolidated Grant Program to Address Children and Youth Experiencing Domestic and Sexual Assault and Engage Men and Boys as Allies,
  • Enhanced Training and Services to End Abuse in Later Life Program,
  • Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies and Enforcement of Protection Orders Program,
  • Grants to Enhance Culturally Specific Services for Victims of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence,  and Stalking Program,
  • Grants for Outreach and Services to Underserved Populations,
  • Grants to Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking on Campus Program,
  • Grants to Support Families in the Justice System,
  • Legal Assistance for Victims Grant Program,
  • Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Assistance Program,
  • Sexual Assault Services Culturally Specific Program,
  • Training and Services to End Violence Against Women with Disabilities Grant Program,
  • Transitional Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Stalking, or Sexual Assault Program,
  • Tribal Governments Program, and
  • Tribal Sexual Assault Services Program.

Not sure if this describes your program? Contact us. We’ll help you determine whether the Learning Center fits your organization.

arrow How does it work?

Program teams including both management and front-line staff (about 40 individuals) will move through the course together in a class. These team members then work with their local staff, volunteers, and board members at your local organization to consider and try new ways of doing advocacy

pdf_iconCourse Schedule

arrow What about the cost?

The course and all materials are free. There will be minimal costs for long-distance phone calls for audio conferences, and an Internet connection is necessary for webinars. You will contribute staff time and your team will need funds for travel by air to 3 events and 1 site visit over 18-months, though OVW training funds may be used or subsidies are available. Show More

All grantees of the federal Office on Violence Against Women are given training and technical assistance funds when they receive an award. These funds are intended to be set aside for grantees and their project partners to attend OVW-sponsored training such as the Advocacy Learning Center. Your program may receive OVW funds directly, you may be a project partner on an OVW-funded project, or you may be a sub-grantee of an OVW STOP award that goes to your state.

Once selected for the Advocacy Learning Center, we will discuss any subsidy needs you may have for travel expenses for your team, and we will work with you to determine if federal Office on Violence Against Women set-aside training funds are available. We ask programs to use OVW set-aside training funds whenever possible so the Learning Center can also be available to advocacy programs who do not receive OVW funds.

  • If funded directly, we will ask you to designate use of these funds for all or part of your team’s travel expenses.
  • If you are an advocacy partner in an OVW-funded project, we will ask you to contact the grant recipient to inquire about the use of these funds.
  • If you are an advocacy program funded through an OVW grant to a Tribal government, we will ask you to contact the person administering the grant for the Tribe to inquire about travel funds.
  • If you are a sub-grantee of a STOP grant in your state, OVW set-aside training funds won’t generally be available to you, but you may still apply.

If sufficient funds are not available, OVW will subsidize travel for your team. Subsidies will also be available to a limited number of advocacy programs that are not OVW-funded.

We do not want costs to prevent any advocacy program from applying. Contact us with any questions you may have about costs.

Not sure if you are a project partner on a federal OVW grant or if you have access to travel funds? We can help you figure this out. Call 651-699-8000651-699-8000, ext. 16, or email

For more information about costs see What is Required webpage.

arrow Class Events

Your team will need to participate in all of the following:

  • Introductory webinars
  • Four-day in-person immersion training on individual advocacy,
  • Three-day in-person institute on institutional advocacy,
  • Two-day in-person training on community advocacy,
  • Monthly webinar sessions following each in-person event,
  • Quarterly keynote webinars,
  • Bi-monthly affinity discussions,
  • On-line independent study course and required reading,
  • Site visit to a model advocacy organization (1 member of your team will attend), and
  • Graduation webinar.

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Refer to the schedule of events for each class posted on the protected Class webpage, for dates and locations.
We also ask you to complete evaluations after every event, and

  • Provide regular updates to ALC staff about your team’s participation, reflection, and adaptation of the ALC curriculum in your work with women.

arrow What about accessibility?

We value making the Advocacy Learning Center accessible to all participants and will strive to ensure that our training events and other course components are as accessible as possible.

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Upon selection, team members will be asked to complete an accessibility survey to determine your specific accessibility needs. We will make every effort to offer an environment that allows you to fully participate in Learning Center activities. For example, sign language interpreters will be made available, upon request, for the meeting times during training events. We will seek to provide accessible lodging facilities, arrange to accommodate personal care attendants, supply braille and large-print materials, and address dietary and other needs upon request.

arrow Interested? Let’s talk!

We’re happy to talk with advocacy programs about this opportunity. Call Praxis at 651-699-8000 ext. 16, or e-mail:

This project is supported by grant #2011-TA-AX-K074 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Comments from
past trainings:
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This has changed us so dramatically in every discussion, everything we have done and now will be doing.

February 23, 2016

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I wish I could re-do my last five years of advocacy.

February 23, 2016

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Life-changing... definitely gives a new way to examine systems and the way in which we do advocacy.

February 23, 2016

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The ALC combines key concepts critical to victim services and systems advocacy that are not available anywhere else.

February 23, 2016

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"As advocates, we claimed the role of articulating the needs of women to the system, not the reverse."

April 28, 2016

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“We have done significant self-reflection through this journey and as a result we have become even more survivor-centered and have reignited our passion. We have the tools we need to succeed and continue to improve our advocacy to better serve survivors in our community.”

January 10, 2019

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“I found the experience to be extremely valuable and wish that all advocacy programs could participate.”

January 10, 2019

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“As advocates, we became more effective and confident in working with our partners to be voices for social change.”

January 10, 2019

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“I feel strongly that this course brought me to a place of understanding of social justice on both a micro and macro level. My thinking has expanded and my advocacy practice has improved.”

January 10, 2019

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Quote from Ellen Pence, founding director
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"As advocates, we claimed the role of articulating the needs of women to the system, not the reverse."

April 28, 2016