DEKALB DISTRICT ATTORNEY ESTABLISHES MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAM TO ADDRESS ABUSE OF AT-RISK ADULTS
Decatur, Ga.- DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston has created a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) to aid in the detection, investigation and prosecution of abuse of elderly and disabled adults in the county, and to assist victims in finding social services to protect them from further abuse. The initiative, known as the DeKalb At-Risk Adult (DARA) MDT, will kick off on Wed., Jan. 15, 2020 with the signing of the team’s Memorandum of Understanding and the first meeting of the group.
District Attorney Boston has engaged the organizations on the front lines in the fight against exploitation and abuse to join the DARA MDT, including several law enforcement and government agencies that serve the at-risk adult community. MDT members will work collaboratively to address systematic issues, review cases, and holistically address the needs of at-risk adults in DeKalb County.
At-risk adult abuse is on the rise. National prevalence studies indicate that over 10% of Americans age 60 and older experience some form of elder abuse in a given year. However, the majority of elder abuse cases do not reach the attention of those charged with responding. This crisis calls for more sophisticated responses, and MDTs have proven to be beneficial in the field of child abuse.
“The growing number of abuse cases being prosecuted by my Office, and the countless cases we know are never reported, is alarming,” said District Attorney Boston. “We have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable members of our community. I look forward to convening with our government, law enforcement and community partners to enact tangible detection and prevention solutions to this appalling issue.”
The DARA MDT will seek to accomplish one or more of the following goals:
- Increase awareness about the issues of at-risk adult abuse, neglect, and exploitation;
- Increase identification and reporting of at-risk adult abuse to state authorities by both mandated reporters and the general population;
- Improve cooperation and coordination between MDT member agencies;
- Improve methods and outcomes for investigations of crimes against at-risk adults;
- Coordinate dismantling of unlicensed personal care homes where disabled adults and elder persons have been illegally housed or trafficked; and
- Identify opportunities within local jurisdictions to improve policies and procedures in the notification of and response to abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
The confirmed list of DARA MDT signatories include:
- The Office of The DeKalb County District Attorney
- Atlanta Legal Aid Society
- Avondale Estates Police Department
- Brookhaven Police Department
- DeKalb County Marshal’s Office
- DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office
- Dunwoody Police Department
- DeKalb County Police Department
- The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI)
- Georgia Department of Human Services – including the Adult Protective Services section of the Division of Aging Services
- Office of the DeKalb County Solicitor-General
The team will meet quarterly at the District Attorney’s Office, but participants will coordinate on cases throughout the year to expedite prosecutions and ensure swift delivery of services to at-risk adults in DeKalb County.