A. Selection of Participants The ideal class size for the Social Advocates program is 20-25 participants, which ensures that there can be interaction between the trainees and the trainers. Because of the small size of the classes, it is important that only participants who will benefit from and make use of the training program are included. For this reason, candidates for each Social Advocates training are competitively selected through an application process and must demonstrate a commitment to working with women victims of violence. The application process is also designed to ensure that a cross-section of Russian cities are represented. Potential applicants are asked to submit a résumé, describing their work in a crisis center or other NGO, references or recommendations and a completed questionnaire. The questionnaire elicits information about the participants’ experience giving advice or consultations, representing victims in court, where they have encountered difficulties in their work and their expectations from the Social Advocates course. CEELI has also supplemented the application process with interviews when further information about an applicant was required. A sample application is included in Section III Annex A to this manual. CEELI has found that the participants in the Social Advocates training represent diverse educational and professional backgrounds; some are university students while others have significant work experience in their fields, for example. The diversity of the participants has not been problematic. Indeed, the trainees find common ground in the fact that they have had little to no exposure to the legal protections available to victims of domestic violence, nor in basic legal skills. Likewise, the selected participants have all demonstrated a desire to assist women in crisis, and their unique backgrounds are an
27 asset. The experience of other countries has shown that effective responses to domestic violence include many sectors of society, not only legal professionals.