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BOISE -- Boise State University plans to offer a new online graduate certificate in victim services.

The program is the first of its kind in the West, and only the second in the country.

University officials announced the change at an informational open house Thursday night.

University leaders say it will benefit people in a variety of occupations ranging from nursing, to social work and criminal justice.

Students will take classes in 8-week blocks, and should finish within a year.

This is kind of at the forefront of a long term push that the Office on Victims of Crime at the U.S. Department of Justice has had to get formal education to professionals or people who want to be professionals on victimization, said Lisa Growette Bostaph, associate professor and graduate coordinator at Boise State.

The program will begin in Fall 2014.

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