BJA's Justice Today
April 2011   
In the Spotlight

Elder Abuse

Actor Mickey Rooney was among those testifying on March 2, 2011 in front of the United States Special Committee on Aging on the topic of elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. The hearing coincided with the Government Accountability Office's release of Elder Justice: Stronger Federal Leadership Could Enhance National Response to Elder Abuse, which calls for the federal government to provide additional attention and resources to the issue of elder abuse. Every day, we hear stories about seniors who may have been exploited, abused, and/or neglected in our communities. These instances of elder abuse are considered intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or trusted individual that lead to, or may lead to, harm of a vulnerable elder. While definitions vary from state to state, elder abuse is often defined to include physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, abandonment, and self-neglect.

Elder abuse is commonly a hidden problem in the justice system and may be an unknown underlying factor in many court cases involving elders. BJA has partnered with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the Commission on Law and Aging at the American Bar Association to fill in the knowledge gap for justice system professionals and policymakers about elder abuse.

Recently, BJA and the NCSC released Identifying and Responding to Elder Abuse: A Benchcard for Judges, which offers resources that courts may use to identify elder abuse, suggests actions that strive to protect victims of abuse, and encourages courts to engage in leadership opportunities in their local community. Additional resources are currently being developed and are expected to be released later this year.

News You Can Use

President Obama Proclaims April as Sexual Assault Month
The President proclaimed that April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. For additional information and resources, visit the Office on Violence Against Women web site.

BJA Launches Two Web Sites for Practitioners and Policymakers
BJA, in partnership with the National Criminal Justice Association, launched the National Center for Justice Planning (NCJP) web site, which supports state, tribal, and local efforts to institutionalize comprehensive approaches to community-based strategic planning for justice. The site features information about and examples of evidence-based policies and practices, strategic planning, and research and evaluation.

BJA, in partnership with the Vera Institute of Justice, recently launched the Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice (CBKB) web site. This project aims to broaden the understanding and use of cost-benefit analysis in criminal justice and help practitioners and jurisdictions build their capacity to conduct cost-benefit studies and apply cost-benefit analysis to policymaking.

Remember to Join us for BJA's Second Tuesdays at 2:00 Webinar Series!
BJA's National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) invites you to participate in the May 10 webinar, "Dealing with Gang Members." The webinar, presented by Victor Gonzalez of the Mayor's Anti Gang Office in Houston, Texas, will cover various techniques to establish rapport and develop trust with gang members and will also discuss the importance of understanding gang dynamics, signs, symbols, and gang activity in your community.
Register now.

Grants and Funding

The following competitive solicitations are open:

Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program
Enacted in 1976, the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program provides death, disability, and education benefits to those eligible for the program. For details regarding these federal benefits for law enforcement officers, firefighters, and first responders killed or catastrophically disabled in the line of duty, call the PSOB Office toll-free at 888–744–6513 or 202–307–0635, or visit the PSOB web site.

Did You Know?

Elder abuse can occur anywhere—in the home, in nursing homes, and in other institutions—but it often goes undetected and relatively few cases are ever identified. Research does suggest that more than one in ten elders may experience some type of abuse, but only one in five cases or fewer are ever reported. Very few seniors who have been abused actually get the help they need. To report suspected abuse in the community, you can contact your local adult protective services agency, or if someone you know is in a life threatening situation or immediate danger, call 911 or contact your local police or sheriff.

Featured Program

BJA's Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) Program assists states in building, implementing, and improving victim notification capacity. Since 2005, BJA has awarded over $45 million to eligible state agencies to increase victim safety by developing policies, practices, and technology solutions for the timely and accurate dissemination of information about offenders and their cases to ensure that victims and survivors are given timely and accurate information that both enhances victims' ability to protect themselves and ensures they are able to fully participate in the criminal justice process.

Based upon feedback from victims and state SAVIN administrators, the BJA FY 2011 SAVIN solicitation included priority areas that encouraged states to focus on including crime victims in the governance process, conduct regular victim satisfaction surveys, and expand notification options so that victims can be provided with additional status updates.

This month, BJA and our national partners (National Criminal Justice Association, IJIS Institute, and Justice Solutions) launched the SAVIN Online Community, which will serve as a valuable tool and resource for state SAVIN administrators and for those states looking to develop, improve, and expand their SAVIN programs.

BJA is also working in partnership with the IJIS Institute to develop a national information sharing standard for the dissemination of victim information and notification. The project—SAVIN IEPD (Information Exchange Package Documentation), which is based on the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM)—will automate and improve the sharing of offender data across jurisdictions.

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