The District’s Collaborative Training & Response for Older Victims
DC is home to over 70,000 people aged 60 and older. Unfortunately, over 7,000 of these seniors may be experiencing abuse, neglect or exploitation each year, according to a needs assessment conducted by DC TROV. Elder abuse is a hidden problem impacting communities across the country. For every one elder abuse case that comes to the attention of people who can help and intervene, fourteen senior victims suffer in silence.
To better respond to elder abuse victims in the District and increase the ability of governmental agencies, victim assistants, law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, and local courts to recognize, assist, investigate, and prosecute elder abuse, in 2013 NVRDC convened a multidisciplinary team, known as DC TROV – The District’s Collaborative Training & Response for Older Victims.
The DC TROV core multidisciplinary team is comprised of:
- Adult Protective Services;
- Metropolitan Police Department;
- Legal Counsel for the Elderly;
- US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia;
- DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence;
- DC Office on Aging;
- DC Forensic Nurse Examiners Program;
- Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia;
- Domestic Violence Unit of the Superior Court;
- Long Term Care Ombudsman;
- District's Alliance for Safe Housing;
- Seabury Resources for Aging;
- DC Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking; and
- DC Department of Disability Services
The project has been supported with funding from the Office Against Violence on Women (OVW) at the U.S. Department of Justice, Equal Justice Works (EJW), and the Mayor's Office for Victim Services and Justice Grants (OVSJG).
Throughout 2015, the DC TROV Law Enforcement Training Team provided elder abuse training to MPD officers and 300 MPD detectives - the entire force of detectives. The curriculum the team used was developed by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL); and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), and has been deployed throughout the country for the past ten years to hundreds of law enforcement agencies. The DC TROV Law Enforcement Training Team worked collaboratively to customize the national curriculum to include DC statutes, resources for elder abuse victims, and other local knowledge helpful for MPD officers. The training provided MPD officers and detectives with information and strategies to more effectively recognize and investigate elder abuse cases. During the course of an eight-hour day, attendees learned to:
- Identify the forms of elder abuse;
- Describe factors that influence an elder abuse investigation; and
- Conduct effective elder abuse investigations to enhance victim safety and hold perpetrators accountable.
In 2016, DC TROV provided a series of Advanced Law Enforcement trainings. DC TROV also provides interactive conversations and cross-training sessions for victim advocates, the aging network, Adult Protective Services staff, the faith community, credit union and banking staff, the healthcare field, the shelter network, and others who interact with senior survivors. To date, over 100 organizations have been involved in these events.
In 2017, DC TROV secured funding for a subgrant to the District's Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) to provide specific elder abuse housing services and advocacy. Zaneta Greene serves as the Housing Specialist - Elder Advocacy and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The DC TROV core team, which steers the project, meets bi-monthly.
For more information or to learn how to join or support the effort, please contact Elder Justice Coordinator and Grants Administrator, Merry O’Brien, at email@example.com.
Merry O'Brien training how to help elder adults during mass disasters on March 1.
FY18 Q2(JAN 2018 -MAR 2018)
During this quarter, NVRDC's Elder Justice Coordinator, the Mayor's Office for Victim Services and Justice Grants, and members of the DC TROV multi-disciplinary team are participating in DC's Age-Friendly Task Force on Abuse, Neglect, and Fraud. Age-Friendly is a World Health Organization effort that hundreds of jurisdictions around the world are participating in - all in an effort to ensure the community is a good place in which to grow older. The task force will meet once per month at libraries in each Ward over the next several months to work on setting goals for the next 5 year period. These goals will be submitted to the Mayor in August. After that point, the task force will meet twice a year to review progress towards goals. The next meetings, which are open to the public, will be held on May 9th, June 13th, and July 11th. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Also during this quarter, the DC TROV training team presented at the American Society on Aging's annual conference. The presentation, entitled "Coordinated Community Responses & Beyond: Creating & Sustaining Collaborations to Address Crimes Against Older Adults," was aimed at assisting other communities in replicating the collaborative efforts DC TROV has achieved over the past four years.
FY18 Q1(OCT 2017 -DEC 2017)
NVRDC continues to be committed to expanding the community's ability to respond to victims of abuse in later life through its DC TROV project. This year, DC TROV encompasses three initiatives: housing-related case management to senior survivors through a subgrant to the District's Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH), provision of legal assistance through an Elder Justice Legal Fellow at Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE), and the continued coordination of the DC TROV multidisplinary response team, which has been in operation for the past four years and includes police, prosecution, victim services, and aging partners who work to enhance outreach, education, and collaboration on elder cases.
In FY18 Q1, the Elder Services Advocate was able to assist 25 older survivors who have minimal, fixed, to no income to local organizations, private landlords, and transitional programs to gain housing stability, post-abuse. The Elder Justice Legal Fellow was able to provide legal services and full representation to 13 older clients. In one particularly egregious case, she assisted a client whose home health aid was financially exploiting and neglecting the senior, had legally married the senior, and moved the client out of their home. She worked with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to make sure the perpetrator could not operate as a home health aid in the District in the future, and worked with the Home and Community Based Ombudsmen to correct the damage and help the senior recover.
In addition to providing direct service, DC TROV continues to lead efforts to educate and collaborate with professionals. In November, DC TROV partners offered a training at St. Luke's Episcopal Church to leaders of all faiths on how to recognize and respond to signs of elder abuse, particularly when they interact with home bound seniors during visits. In many cases, seniors will turn to faith leaders first for assistance when experiencing abuse, so this training was a step to forging a partnership with the faith community. DC TROV plans to hold additional trainings for this audience in the coming months, so stay tuned for details.
For more information or to learn how to join or support the effort, please contact Elder Justice Coordinator and Grants Administrator Merry O’Brien at email@example.com.
NVRDC welcomes all survivors, regardless of sexual
orientation, gender, gender identity or expression,
race, ethnicity, religion, immigrant status, or ability.