Instances of suspected abuse or neglect must be reported immediately to the DPPC’s 24-hour Hotline at 1-800-426-9009 V/TTY. A written report of abuse or neglect must follow within 48 hours of the verbal report to the hotline. Mandated Reporters should not rely on others, such as supervisors or administrators, to file reports for them.
Deaths of persons with disabilities must be reported to DPPC’s 24-hour Hotline at 1-800-426-9009 V/TTY. A written report must follow within 48 hours of the verbal report to the hotline. Deaths must be reported regardless of whether abuse or neglect is suspected.
To remind staff of their reporting responsibilities and to encourage reporting, DPPC’s poster can be displayed throughout the agency. In addition, wallet sized reporting cards are available for staff. To obtain these materials, please contact DPPC at (617) 727-6465 V/TTY.
Abuse or neglect committed against persons with disabilities might also be a crime. Call your local police immediately if you think a crime, such as an assault and battery, sexual assault, rape or larceny has been committed. In an emergency, contact your local police department by dialing 911.
The State Police Detective Unit (SPDU) assigned to the DPPC reviews every report received by the DPPC 24-hour Hotline. Reports received indicating criminal activity are referred to the appropriate district attorney by the SPDU.
For reporting other cases of suspected abuse and neglect:
- Department of Social Services
Ages birth to 17
- Executive Office of Elder Affairs
Ages 60 & above
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What is a Mandated Reporter?
- Mandated Reporters are persons who, as a result of their profession, are more likely to be aware of abuse or neglect of persons with disabilities.
Mandated Reporters are required by law to report cases of suspected abuse to the Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC) when they have a suspicion
that a person with a disability is suffering from a reportable condition of abuse or neglect. Other persons who are not mandated to
report may choose to file reports of suspected abuse.
Who are Mandated to Report?
- Employees of state agencies within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) including but not limited to the employees of the
- Department of Mental Retardation
- Department of Mental Health
- Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
- Employees of private agencies providing services to individuals with disabilities
- Medical personnel
- Medical examiners
- Social workers
- Foster parents
- Police officers
- Probation officers
- Public or private school teachers
- Educational administrators
- Guidance or family counselors
- Day care workers
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The standard for reporting suspected abuse and neglect is “reasonable cause to believe” which means that mandated reporters need only a “mere suspicion” that abuse or neglect was committed against a person with a disability. If abuse or neglect is suspected, trust your feeling and report to the DPPC. It is better to err on the side of action.
In addition to reporting suspected abuse or neglect, mandated reporterse are also required to report to the DPPC all cases in which an individual with a disability has died, regardless of whether or not abuse or neglect is suspected.
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Mandated Reporters are immune from civil or criminal liability as a result of filing a report of abuse committed against a person with a disability. Non-mandated reporters are also protected providing the report was made in good faith. If a Mandated Reporter is retaliated against by their employer for filing an alleged report of abuse, or by participating in the DPPC investigation, DPPC will conduct an investigation into the retaliation.
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In Massachusetts, Mandated Reporters can be fined up to $1000 for failure to report incidences of suspected abuse and neglect of children, elders, and persons with disabilities can result in severe consequences for the alleged victim, other potential victims, and the Mandated Reporter. Victims of abuse or neglect are at increased risk of further abuse, if it goes unreported. The frequency and severity of abuse and neglect are likely to increase over time if no intervention is made. A failure to intervene by not reporting will likely result in other individuals being abused and neglected.
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- Every abuse report made to the DPPC hotline is reviewed first to determine if it represents an emergency or a non-emergency and then whether or not DPPC has the authority to investigate. The reporter will be notified in wiritng whether or not the intake report was assigned for investigation.
- The troopers of the State Police Detective Unit (SPDU) assigned to the DPPC, review every intake report received by the DPPC Hotline to determine if there is an appearance of criminal activity.
- DPPC intake reports identified as criminal, are referred to the applicable district attorney’s office. The assistant district attorney will review the DPPC intake report and determine if and who will conduct the criminal investigation: state police, local police or both.
- If DPPC does not have the authority to investigate, the Hotline staff will forward the intake report to the appropriate state agency for review and action as necessary.
- If DPPC has the authority to investigate, the intake report will immediately be assigned to a 19C investigator at the DPPC or from the Department of Mental Retardation (DMR), the Department of Mental Health (DMH) or the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC).
- When DPPC has the authority to investigate, the intake report will immediately be assigned to a DPPC Oversight Officer to monitor risk.
- The assigned investigator must arrange to interview all relevant parties to the complaint, make a site visit, examine records or other vital documentation, and engage in other investigatory practices, such as photographing the scene and any injuries.
- The investigator’s primary role is to conduct an objective and thorough review of all the facts, to determine the nature and cause of any injuries, to make conclusions based on those findings, and to recommend needed protective services to eliminate further risk to the victim. The findings are documented in an investigation report and submitted to the DPPC.
- The DPPC Oversight Officer is responsible for monitoring all DPPC investigations to ensure that the victim is safe and the report is thorough and timely. In cases where the victim is at risk, or the abuse is substantiated, protective services are provided by the respective service providing agency: DMR, DMH, or MRC. To confirm that the necessary protective services are implemented, the DPPC Oversight Officer monitors the case until the risk of harm to the victim has been reduced or eliminated.
- In order to receive a copy of the completed investigation report, a request must be submitted in writing to the DPPC.
Please click here for detailed information about DPPC.
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