State Taking Action Against Abuse

April 6, 2011

ATLANTA (GA) – Crimes against older adults and people with disabilities frequently go unrecognized, unreported and unprosecuted, but a new group of statewide agencies aims to change that. The Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Aging Services has joined with eight organizations to create the At-Risk Adult Crime Tactics (ACT) Specialist Certification – a credential for professionals who are mandated by state law to report suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation. The first certification courses will be available statewide in early 2011.

“Over two million vulnerable adults in Georgia may be at risk of exploitation, and thousands may suffer and die in isolation unless families, friends, and professionals learn to more effectively spot and report abuse,” said Dr. James Bulot, director of the DHS Division of Aging Services. “Subject matter experts will train mandated reporters throughout the state, and these newly certified professionals will, in turn, educate their local communities.”

Through the ACT certification series, workers in public safety, criminal justice, social services, healthcare and related fields will learn to:

  • more easily recognize and report signs of abuse against at-risk adults,
  • understand roles and responsibilities of involved agencies,
  • collaborate effectively with other professionals,
  • utilize a standardized approach for first-responders,
  • identify resources for professionals and potential victims,
  • increase the number of prosecutions of offenders; and
  • strengthen prevention techniques.

State to Offer Crime Specialist Training

Certified professionals will form a new statewide ACT Specialist team that promotes community awareness, shares crime trends to alert communities, and stays up-to-date with additional training.

The ACT specialist certification curriculum covers topics such as normal aging typologies; abuse; neglect; financial exploitation; risk factors and indicators; investigation tactics; incident/crime scene tools and techniques; capacity and competency; guardianship; conservatorship; Power of Attorney; Georgia law; and federal, state and local resources.

The DHS Division of Aging Services is collaborating with the following organizations to offer the ACT Specialist Certification:

  • The Administrative Office of the Courts of Georgia
  • The Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police
  • The Georgia Bureau of Investigation
  • The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council
  • The Georgia Police Academy
  • The Georgia Sheriff’s Association, Inc.
  • The Institute of Judicial Continuing Education
  • The Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia.

Certification is awarded by the DHS Division of Aging Services, and law enforcement may apply.

For details about courses, dates and training eligibility, contact David Blake at dfblake@dhr.state.ga.us in the DHS Division of Aging Services Forensic Unit / Special Investigations. For more information about services available to older Georgians and their families, visit the DHS Division of Aging Services at http://www.aging.dhr.georgia.govor call (866) 55-AGING (552-4464)

Contact Information: 
Media contact: (404) 656-4937

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