National prevalence studies indicate that at least 10% of older Americans experience some form of elder abuse in a given year, with a significant proportion of older adults experiencing financial exploitation or financial fraud. Law enforcement plays a critical role in our response to elder abuse.
Interviewing victims and witnesses is an important aspect of an investigation, and yet there has been little training available on forensic interviewing with older adults. As such, the Elder Justice Initiative supported the development of the SAFE (Safe and Accessible Forensic Interviewing with Elders) Training for elder justice professionals, including law enforcement.
SAFE was developed to meet the growing need for victim-centered, trauma-informed interview techniques for use with older adults in criminal contexts. SAFE is grounded in forensic interviewing best practices with considerations and adaptations to account for age-related changes in cognition, underlying neuropathology (e.g., dementia), individual disability, language capacity, and cultural background. More information on the SAFE Training can be found at the Department’s Elder Justice Website at https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/safe-training.
2-Day SAFE training
The 2-Day SAFE Training is intended for elder justice professionals, including multidisciplinary team members, to effectively communicate with and/or interview older victims. The 2-Day course begins with a brief introduction to the concept of elder abuse (history, statistics), then transitions to exploring the ways in which elder abuse dynamics and aspects of aging impact interviewing. Attendees are then introduced to relevant aspects of the SAFE Model of interviewing older adults. Attendees will practice some of these newly acquired skills during the course and participate in other interactive activities.
Note: Completion of this course does not confer expertise as interviewing expertise is attained through repeated training and practice. However, this course provides the basic tools needed to effectively communicate with older victims in the context of an elder abuse investigation.
Free Training Opportunity
To enhance the criminal justice response to elder abuse, the Elder Justice Initiative will send trainers to 10 communities to receive the 2-Day SAFE Training free of charge. To be considered for the training, communities must have:
If you would like to be considered for this training, send an email to Shelly Jackson at email@example.com notifying her of your interest in the training and affirming your ability to meet the above requirements, and please include in the email:
Selection criteria will be based on the ability to meet the above requirements, with some consideration for geographic representation and available dates.
If you have any questions, contact Shelly Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-531-5194.
The mission of the Elder Justice Initiative is to support and coordinate the Department’s enforcement and programmatic efforts to combat elder abuse, neglect and financial fraud and scams that target our nation’s older adults.
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