Violence Peer Counselors

California law (Government Code §13957.9) was amended to authorize the California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) to reimburse crime victims or derivative victims for outpatient violence peer counseling-related expenses provided by a service organization. The law defines an eligible service organization as a nongovernmental organization with the primary mission of providing services to victims of violent crimes.

The authority to reimburse outpatient violence peer counseling related expenses will expire on January 1, 2019, unless extended by future legislation.

Minimum qualifications

Violence peer counselors must possess at least six months of full-time experience providing peer support services through employment, volunteer work, or as part of an internship experience, which equates to approximately 1,000 hours.

Training and certification requirements

All violence peer counselors must successfully complete at least 40 hours of specialized training from a CalVCB-approved curriculum. Service organizations that employ violence peer counselors shall be responsible for ensuring their counselors successfully complete the specialized training including the submission of the violence peer counselors’ certificates. The service organization may either utilize an approved training curriculum developed by another service organization or the service organization has the option to create and implement their own training curriculum, subject to CalVCB approval.

Level of supervision

Violence peer counselors must be supervised by a licensed marriage and family therapist, educational psychologist, clinical social worker, or professional clinical counselor. Both the violence peer counselor and their supervisor shall be employed by the same service organization and a minimum of one hour of supervision per week shall be provided to the violence peer counselor to discuss case work in either a group or individual setting.

Session limits and billing requirements

A violence peer counseling session is defined as one counseling session lasting 45–74 minutes long, provided by a violence peer counselor. A violence peer counselor may have multiple sessions with a victim in one day at a reimbursement rate of $15/hour; however, there shall be a 10 session limit maximum on each application.

Service organizations seeking reimbursement from the Program must complete and submit Violence Peer Counselor Billing Form for services rendered by a violence peer counselor. All billing forms must contain the signatures of the violence peer counselor and his/her licensed supervisor.