Lt. Governor Polito Attended the First of its Kind Training to Assist Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Recover from Sexual Abuse

Image of Lt. Governor Polito Attended the First of its Kind Training

“I have been waiting thirty years for this day,” said Patty Quatieri, a survivor of sexual assault and chairperson of Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong (“MASS”), an organization which promotes and nurtures self-advocacy for persons with disabilities.  Patty, an Arlington Massachusetts native, spoke on Thursday, September 29th about her experience surviving rape and struggling to re-gain her independence.

The Building Partnerships for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities Initiative (BPI) with additional support received by the Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC) from the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with Department of Public Health (DPH), Riverside Community Care (RCC), Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC), Department of Developmental Services (DDS), Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE), Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong (MASS), Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, Victim’s Rights Law Center, Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA), Jane Doe, Office of the Attorney General Victim Compensation and Assistance Division, and other stakeholders came together to plan a series of four regional trainings. The multidisciplinary training is designed to enhance and build relationships to improve access to trauma informed services for sexual assault survivors with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Image of Lt. Governor Polito and Patty

Along with Patty, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito attended and addressed the many state officials and professionals at the September 29th training to work together to assist sexual assault survivors in accessing trauma services.  The trainings are focusing on the fact that persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, like Patty, are assaulted at 4 times the rate of the general population and that they are specifically targeted because of their disabilities. Persons with disabilities are less likely to be believed and therefore less likely to receive trauma services.

Patty noted, “Survivors with intellectual and developmental disabilities have extra challenges, two problems instead of one, so it might take longer for us to understand and process the information counselors are giving. I think that these trainings will help counselors learn more about people with disabilities, how to work as a team with us, to listen to us, and to be more patient. It might also take survivors with intellectual and developmental disabilities longer to get over the trauma, understanding this will help counselors help survivors have a better quality of life during and after the trauma.”

Image of Lt. Governor Polito and agencies' staff

Lt. Governor Polito, who chairs the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, noted that “Many of the Commonwealth’s programs aimed at addressing sexual assault serve as national models, and we are proud to see the steps BPI, DPPC, MASS and so many others are taking to provide training and close accessibility gaps for individuals with disabilities.  It is encouraging to see so many agencies working together to provide justice and healing for this vulnerable population.”

Nancy Alterio, Executive Director of the DPPC stated “Persons with disabilities should not be left to face the aftermath of sexual assault alone.  In Massachusetts we already have the resources in place to provide intervention and support to most sexual assault survivors—now it is a matter of navigating and tailoring those resources to better serve the needs of persons with disabilities, which we hope to begin to accomplish through these trainings.”

Caroline VanBruinswardt, Executive Director of MASS, is hopeful that “These trainings will result in sexual assault victims with intellectual and developmental disabilities gaining access to the appropriate trauma services so they too have the opportunity to heal and recover from such despicable crimes.” 

To learn more about the multidisciplinary project and regional trainings please contact Susan Vickers, Project Coordinator, by email at


Dear Colleagues:

It is my pleasure to introduce the new Chair of the Disabled Persons Protection Commission, James T. Brett.  Chair Brett’s qualifications for this position are unmatched.  His remarkable career includes extensive work in public service and with various professional and charitable organizations where Chair Brett zealously advocated for the needs of persons with disabilities.  While the list of these positions is too long to reproduce in its entirety, a few highlights include:

  • Past Chairman and current Member of The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities;
  • Chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Intellectual Disability;
  • Member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities;
  • Honorary Board of Directors member of the Special Olympics of Massachusetts;
  • Member of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program;
  • National Advisory Board Member of the National Autism Center; and
  • Past President of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health. 

While Mr. Brett’s extensive civic and humanitarian service is too voluminous to list, it paints a portrait of an individual who has spent a lifetime championing for persons with disabilities.  I recently had the opportunity to introduce Chair Brett to the DPPC staff, as well as attend the first Commissioner’s meeting under his leadership.  Mr. Brett’s personal and professional passion for advancing the interest of individuals with disabilities was overwhelming.  I look forward to working with him in the coming years, and I am confident that while Mr. Brett serves as Chair, the DPPC will continue to advance its vital mission of protecting individuals with disabilities throughout the Commonwealth. 

Yours truly,

Nancy A. Alterio
Executive Director

DPPC Receives the First-ever ACL Federal Grant Specifically Designated to Improve States’ Adult Protective Services (APS) Systems

The Disabled Persons Protection Commission (“DPPC”) is pleased to announce that it is one of 11 state agencies nationwide to be awarded a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living.  This two-year, $300,000 grant, will allow DPPC to improve the adult protective services (“APS”) system in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  DPPC’s project, titled “Improving the Well-Being of Persons with Disabilities through a Multidisciplinary Partnership,” creates a collaboration between DPPC and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Riverside Community Care, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services, Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong, Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance, Massachusetts Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program, Jane Doe, Inc. and the Hampden District Attorney Office.  This partnership will work to improve the overall experiences, health, well-being and outcomes of sexual assault victims with developmental disabilities by improving access to effective trauma-informed services from Massachusetts rape crisis centers.  DPPC is excited to work with its collaborators to continue to improve the lives of persons with disabilities throughout the Commonwealth.

Awareness & Action Training

The Awareness and Action curriculum was developed by persons with disabilities in partnership with the Building Partnerships for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities Initiative (BPI). The curriculum, film and accompanying materials were created to educate persons with disabilities and others about the difficult subject matter of abuse committed against persons with disabilities.

The Awareness & Action curriculum, taught by persons with disabilities and others, introduces the abuse of persons with disabilities through five powerful video vignettes, a PowerPoint slide presentation, group activities, skits and worksheets. The comprehensive three-hour training closely examines how to recognize, report and respond to five different types of abuse - physical, sexual, neglect, verbal and financial. At the end of the three-hour training, participants take home reporting and learning materials which include a backpack, state and local resources and more. An Awareness & Action DVD of Abuse Stories and participant workbook are also provided to agencies and individuals interested in follow-up training.

The Awareness & Action training is intended for persons with disabilities, support staff, family members, social service agencies working with people with disabilities, health care professionals, educators and other professionals.

For more information or to schedule training, please contact Jennifer Edwards-Hawkins:

Phone: 617-727-6465 x211