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. 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, NVRDC convened a multidiscplinary 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; and
- Long Term Care Ombudsman.
The project is supported through a three-year grant from the Office Against Violence on Women (OVW) at the U.S. Department of Justice. Additionally, The National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) provides training and program support along each step of the way to ensure the project’s success. Over forty states and territories have received the federal grant funding from OVW in the decade since its inception. DC joins these communities taking a strong stance on this issue – forming a collaborative community response prepared to make a real impact in improving the response to elder abuse victims in coming years.
Throughout 2015, the DC TROV Law Enforcement Training Team provided elder abuse training to MPD officers and 350 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 will provide an Advanced Law Enforcement training on an elder abuse related subject that MPD identifies as important for further exploration.
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.
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 Special Projects Coordinator Merry O’Brien at email@example.com.
Victim Legal Network of DC
Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services – a comprehensive assessment of the victim assistance field conducted through the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice – identified a vision that every state will establish wraparound legal networks to ensure that crime victims’ rights are enforced and that victims of crime receive the broad range of legal services needed.
As a result of that vision, ten state VOCA – Victims of Crime Act administrative offices – including DC’s – received funding to coordinate legal networks. The Victim Legal Network of DC (VLNDC) was created with the ultimate goal of alleviating the legal obstacles that crime victims face after a criminal victimization by creating a seamless network of high-quality, well-trained legal services providers in the areas of criminal representation, civil law, and administrative proceedings.
NVRDC serves as the lead subject matter expert on the team for crime victims' rights and as the organization uniquely providing both criminal and civil crime victim services in the District.
The project is informed by a VLNDC Steering Committee consisting of NVRDC, the Office of the Attorney General, George Washington University, Ayuda, Safe Shores, DC Volunteer Lawyers Project, My Sister’s Place, and the Wendt Center. The Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA) is the designated VLNDC project evaluator.
Funding for the multi-year project is made possible by a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, and supported with technical assistance and training from the National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI).
Currently, VLNDC is operating in Phase I of the project, which includes the development of the multidisciplinary steering committee, the assessment and identification of legal needs of crime victims in DC, and the creation of an implementation plan to address those needs. In Phase II, NVRDC will work with project partners on implementation – increasing seamless referrals, as well as conducting monthly training institutes in the areas of criminal law, civil protective law, administrative law, education law, public benefits law, and other areas identified through the needs assessment.
Please contact NVRDC’s Staff Attorney and Trainer, Jabeen Adawi, for more information about NVRDC’s role in the VLNDC project at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Identity Theft Assistance Project
Since its founding, NVRDC has opened its door to survivors of all crime types, including those impacted by identity theft, fraud, and financial exploitation. Through the years, it became increasingly apparent that 1) there exists an intersection between violent crime and identity theft and 2) victims of non-violent crimes have too few resources in the District to assist in recovery. The Identity Theft Assistance Project at NVRDC is working to address these gaps.
In 2013, NVRDC began conducting identity theft screenings for all survivors of crime to more quickly identify issues of compromised personal identifying information (PII) that may lead to identity theft and fraud. When the compromised PII results in an identity theft, NVRDC advocates refer clients to NVRDC legal services for free legal assistance. Through this screening, NVRDC discovered that 8% of its clients who survived violent crimes experienced a compromise of their personal identifying information. In 2014 this number increased to over 12% of all of NVRDC’s clients experiencing compromised personal identifying information as a result of the victimization they suffered. In 2015, it increased further - to 24% of all clients served.
NVRDC's data coincides with what is known nationally. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, a greater percent of violent crime (rape/sexual assault, robbery, assault) victims experience identity theft than non-violent crime victims. Like serious violent crime victims, over half of identity theft victims experience moderate to severe emotional distress as a result of the crime, in addition to monetary losses and other consequences.
The ITAP Project seeks to increase NVRDC’s ability to meet the needs of identity theft and fraud victims in the nation’s capital, and provide information, assistance and legal services to these consumers. Additionally, this project aims to increase screening in victims of violent crimes whose perpetrators are using identity theft as a secondary means of power, control, or financial gain. NVRDC will offer training and support to its many partners, create strategies to reach victims of identity theft with accurate and helpful information, and increase the overall collaboration, screening, and referrals within the entities that come into contact with victims of identity theft in DC. As a result, an increased number of victims will be funneled immediately to an NVRDC advocate (and/or attorney as needed) who can assist them in quickly preventing further financial and identity damage.
This project is supported with a grant from the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, through the Identity Theft Assistance Corporation (ITAC) Fund. ITAC was a non-profit founded in 2004 by members of the financial services industry to help their customers—and all consumers—prevent, detect and recover from identity theft. In the decade of its existence, the Corporation helped 150,000 consumers restore their financial identities. Through consumer education and advocacy and partnerships with law enforcement, ITAC increased awareness and shaped the private and public sectors’ response to identity crime. In taking the initiative to create a free victim assistance service for their customers, ITAC members demonstrated the power of collaboration among industry, consumers and government stakeholders. Having achieved its mission, the Corporation is now continuing its legacy of consumer assistance and advocacy through this grant fund to other nonprofits that are helping consumers prevent, detect and recover from identity theft. NVRDC is honored to continue this legacy through its ITAP Project.
If you, or someone you know, suspect you have been a victim of identity theft this page can walk you through immediate action steps. If you need support contact NVRDC for assistance and we can guide you through the local identity theft laws and rights regarding recovery.
For more information about ITAP, please contact Special Projects Coordinator Merry O'Brien at email@example.com.