When an alleged victim remains at risk of harm or further abuse, a petition for the provision of protective services (Protective Order) may be filed in the Probate Court in the county where the victim resides. Only legal staff from the Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC), or the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) or the Department of Mental Health (DMH) may file such petitions. A hearing will be held within fourteen days. If the court decides that the victim lacks the capacity to consent to protective services, an order establishing a representative for the victim and requiring the provision of services will be issued.
Emergency Protective Orders
Petitions for Emergency Protective Orders may be sought in cases where it can be shown that a delay would pose an immediate, serious risk to a victim's life, or jeopardize his/her immediate health or welfare. Such orders are effective for only seventy-two hours, but may be extended at the court's discretion.
In Massachusetts, M.G.L. c 19C § 7(d) allows for the application of warrants for access to individuals with disabilities when (1) there is reasonable cause to believe that the individual is the subject of abuse; (2) an investigation is on-going; and (3) access to the victim has been unreasonably denied to the investigator.
The completed application form for the Access Warrant should be filed with the Clerk-Magistrate of the District Court for the town in which the denial of access occurred. Application for an Access Warrant is considered an emergency matter, and should be dealt with expeditiously by the Court.