Enhancing Judicial Skills in Elder Abuse Cases Workshop Program Overview

The National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence (NJIDV), a partnership of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), and Futures Without Violence (formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund), offers a four-day, hands-on, highly interactive workshop that will help new and experienced state court judges and judicial officers to improve their skills and ability to respond to cases involving violence against the elderly.

Learning Objectives

A Judge Participating in this Workshop Will be Better Able to:
  • Define elder abuse and identify common abuse tactics.
  • Describe common excuses and myths related to perpetrators’ abuse of elders.
  • Discuss the range of barriers that inhibit access to justice and safety for elders in court, and enhance physical, legal, and attitudinal accessibility for older adult victims.
  • Rule on evidentiary and legal challenges that perpetuate discrimination against, or jeopardize the safety of, aging adults who are victims of abuse.
  • Craft orders that preserve the dignity of elders, enhance victim safety, and hold perpetrators accountable.
  • Develop and promote fair practices and procedures in the court and community that address the physical, financial, and emotional protection of older adult victims.
  • Define the terms culture and cultural competence and enhance respect for the dynamics of difference in cases involving elder abuse.
  • Develop a strategy and implement a mechanism to promote continued victim safety throughout and after court proceedings.
  • Assess the potential impact of a judge’s role within the court and the larger community.

Educational Segments

The workshop addresses the following topics using hypothetical case problems, role-plays, small-group workshops, and faculty demonstrations. The highly interactive format enables judges and judicial officers from different jurisdictions and levels of experience to learn from one another as well as from faculty experts.

Aging and the Dynamics of Elder Abuse

4.5 Hours
This segment will help participants recognize the extent of the elder abuse epidemic in this country and in their courtrooms.

Evidence in Elder Abuse Cases

3.4 Hours
This segment will illustrate the fundamental importance of judicial fact finding and discuss how effective fact finding can impact an elder abuse case.

Leadership and Access to Justice

3.5 Hours
This segment focuses on the judge’s leadership role in increasing access to justice for victims of elder abuse.

Fairness and Culture Issues in Elder Abuse Cases

3.2 Hours
Participants will formulate definitions of cultural competency, discuss the dynamics of difference, and identify ways in which culture is relevant in the courtroom.

Decision Making Skills

3.75 Hours
This segment will focus on making decisions in elder abuse cases that preserve the dignity of victims, encourage self-determination, enhance safety, order the least restrictive alternatives, and hold perpetrators accountable.

Eligibility and Costs

All state court judges nationwide are eligible to attend the workshop, but first priority will be given to judges from jurisdictions currently receiving funding from Training Grants to Stop Abuse and Sexual Assault Against Older Individuals or Individuals with Disabilities Program

Second priority will be given to judges from other OVW grant programs such as:
  • Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies and Enforcement of Protection Orders
  • STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grants Program
  • Rural Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Child Abuse Enforcement Assistance Program
  • Domestic Violence Transitional Housing Assistance Program

Priority is also given to OVW-funded jurisdictions that send more than one judge. The program is offered free of charge. An activity fee will offset expenses that cannot be paid with grant funds. Local OVW-funded agencies and some courts might cover their judges’ travel and per diem costs. All participants are responsible for their own travel and per diem costs. Financial assistance for some travel expenses may be available to a limited number of participants with special funding needs.

Upcoming EJS Elder Abuse Workshop

No workshops are scheduled at this time.

EJS Elder Abuse Application and Attendance

For additional information, including registration/application materials, click on the web link to be directed to the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence website www.njidv.org/ or please contact Brianne Smith at (775) 784-1559 or bsmith@ncjfcj.org. 

Limited scholarship assistance for travel expenses might be available.

Judges who are accepted for admission to the EJS Elder Abuse Workshop are required to attend all education sessions. Otherwise, program partners will be unable to certify program participation, which might impact reimbursement for travel expenses.

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