Georgia Increasing Training in Elder Abuse Detection For Officers

Some call elder abuse an “iceberg” crime, meaning that for every crime that is exposed, more remain hidden. Georgia has been working to curtail and prosecute these kinds of crimes, by training law enforcement and ramping up the criminal charges for elder abuse. As the Atlanta Journal and Constitution reports, this has led to an increase in prosecutions for the crime of elder abuse.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation director Vernon Keenan has made stopping elder abuse one of the agency’s top priorities. This is key, especially as the number of elderly Georgia residents rises.

One of the things that they have done is shifted elder abuse laws into the criminal code. Police officers are more familiar with this and the more officers that are trained to spot abuse, the more comes to light.

Just two years ago, the GBI hired eight new agents whose focus was to be elder abuse. These agents travel around the state with a task force training police officers to recognize signs of possible elder abuse.

The effort has reaped results. In 2010, there were only 366 charges related to elder abuse filed. In 2016, that had increased to 2,082 charges filed.

“The more training we do, the more cases that are exposed. And we’ve had some great success stories of investigators having gone to the training and then go back and detect what’s going on in one of these cases,” Keenan said.

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