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What is cross-disciplinary training?

It is training geared toward helping professionals expand their scope of knowledge and skills beyond the confines of their own professional disciplines.

Why is it needed?

The field of elder abuse prevention is multidisciplinary by nature. Professionals ranging from physicians to police officers are likely to encounter abuse cases and are in key positions to offer help. These professionals, including those from the disciplines listed below, possess skills, tools, resources, authority, and knowledge that may be needed to stop abuse and reduce vulnerability.

  • Law enforcement
  • Social work
  • Domestic violence
  • Medicine
  • Sexual assault prevention
  • Victim witness assistance
  • Mental health
  • Substance abuse
  • Adult protection

Each discipline has its own perspective, jargon, mandates, and resources. When professionals fail to understand these differences, it can create barriers, misunderstandings, or "turf" conflicts. On the other hand, when professionals learn about other disciplines' approaches, resources, and perspectives, it can greatly expand their repertoires of skills, increase the resources they can make available to their clients, and enhance their understanding of the problem. It can facilitate interagency coordination, resulting in a more comprehensive range of services, reducing the likelihood that clients will "fall between the cracks" of the service network, and cutting down on wasteful overlap.

Resources for cross-disciplinary education and training:

The following training manuals and curricula have been developed to facilitate cross-disciplinary education and training.

A Model Intervention for Elder Abuse and Dementia. This curriculum, developed as a collaboration between five organizations in Ohio, teaches adult protective services (APS) workers about dementia, and Alzheimer's Association employees about elder abuse. For more information on how to order, contact: Development/Marketing; The Benjamin Rose Institute; 850 Euclid Avenue, Suite 1100; Cleveland OH 44114.

Abuser Chemical Dependency: Key Barriers to Effective Elder Abuse Interventions. Produced by the Bureau of Elder Rights -Division of Older American Services of Illinois, this curriculum familiarizes elder abuse professionals about chemical dependency. It includes a trainers' guidebook and caseworker handbook. For more information, contact: Illinois Department on Aging; 421 E. Capitol Ave. #100; Springfield IL 62701-1789.

The National Center on Elder Abuse, in conjunction with the Goldman Institute on Aging, has developed a series of manuals to familiarize elder abuse professionals with a variety of disciplines, including law enforcement, domestic violence, victim witness assistance, and mental health. For more information, click here.

The National Clearinghouse on Domestic Violence in Later Life has produced several cross disciplinary training materials for professionals in the fields of adult protection and domestic violence. For more information, click here.

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