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Domestic Violence Specialist (DVS) Certification

The Domestic Violence Certification is the first-of-its-kind curricula designed to recognize the work of advocates working in a range of different roles. Domestic violence is complicated and the certification process also ensures that advocates and other professionals are well prepared to work with victims. It is a requirement for continued employment at some agencies and requires certification every two years. Learn more about the program below.

History of the DVS

Previously domestic violence advocates did not have a process that recognized the expertise gained from our years of experience working with victims and their families. The growing body of research is rarely disseminated outside the domestic violence field into institutional curricula or other certification programs. Most troubling is the lack of domestic violence awareness by private practitioners and agencies working in isolation with victims and perpetrators alike.


A committee of domestic violence professionals worked for several years to develop a comprehensive course of study and experience necessary to advocate safely in the domestic violence field. In 1993 the original committee conducted interviews and selected 17 long time domestic violence experts to create the first domestic violence specialist certification board in the country.

As our knowledge and understanding of the dynamics and impact of violence on victims, their family members and advocates continues to grow, so too does the importance of New Jersey’s Domestic Violence Specialist Certification.

Basic Guide to a DVS

To complete your DVS you must first apply or enroll in the program. After your enrollment, you will:

  • Receive notifications about upcoming trainings provided by the NJCEDV Training Institute and other approved DVS trainings.
  • Receive a user-friendly packet of material that will help you in organizing your Applicant Portfolio. To enroll, simply fill out the Applicant Information Form and pay your $50 enrollment fee.

After enrollment, you must complete your Applicant Portfolio:

  • 170 hours of training: most of the training must be specific to domestic violence and must cover all six domains of knowledge specified by the NJADVP.
  • Four separate site visits; DV Shelter, DV court, Al-Anon meeting, and AA or NA meeting.
  • 1,000 hours of direct service experience in domestic violence, 200 of these hours must be specific to task areas. Reference letters, personal statements and ethics agreements.

Your completed portfolio, along with your $200 certification fee will be sent to:

NJ Association of Domestic Violence Professionals


1670 Whitehorse Hamilton Square Road

Trenton, NJ 08690-3541


  • Recertification is required every two years.
  • You must verify 21 hours of continuing education in domestic violence and pay the $50 recertification fee.
  • Fees for the DVS program are used to bring quality trainings at a minimum of cost to you and others in the field. If you need financial assistance to help you cover the cost, please email lcarson@njcedv.org or phone at 609-584-8107 Ext. 403 for a fee reduction application.


Enroll in the DVS Program Online Today:  (Please Register Online Even if you are Paying by Check)

You can now enroll in the DVS Certification program as well as pay for the application fee online and receive enrollment forms via email.

There are 3 steps to enrolling in the DVS certification program.

  • Review the Basic Guide to a DVS
  • Complete the Applicant Information Form below
  • Pay the $50 enrollment fee online (Please note that registration is not considered complete until payment is received in full. If you paid online, allow 2-3 business days to receive your files. If you paid by check, your files will be sent to you within 2-3 business days of receipt. If you have not received them during this timeframe, contact LMalkin@NJCEDV.org

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