Every abuse report made to the DPPC Hotline is reviewed first to determine if it represents an emergency or non-emergency and then whether or not DPPC has the authority to investigate. The reporter will be notified in writing 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 the DPPC receives a call that is not in its jurisdiction - for example an allegation involving a child under 18 or an adult over 59 - DPPC will refer the report to the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) or to the appropriate state agency for review and consideration. In this way, all calls concerning reportable offenses will be handled appropriately and it prevents situations from falling through the cracks.
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 Developmental Services (DDS), 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: DDS, 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's Deputy General Counsel.