Abuse reports received by the Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC) are reviewed by both the DPPC screening unit and the State Police Detective Unit (SPDU), which is assigned to DPPC. The SPDU determines which reports appear to constitute criminal activity.

If there is an indication of criminal activity, the SPDU refers the abuse report to the District Attorney's office with jurisdiction over this case for assignment of a criminal investigation within 24 hours of receipt of the report. If a call comes in over the weekend, then the call is referred at the beginning of the next business day. If it is an emergency, the DPPC on-call officer is notified immediately.

In most counties the District Attorney's Office will assign the criminal investigation to either the local police department who has jurisdiction, SPDU assigned to their office or the SPDU assigned to the DPPC. Most cases are assigned to local police departments.

At the same time the District Attorney's Office receives the report, the appropriate social service agency is also notified and the report is given to a 19C Adult Protective Services Investigator from the Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC), Department of Developmental Services (DDS), Department of Mental Health (DMH) or the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) who will contact the police officer assigned to the case.

If the District Attorney's office does not find sufficient evidence that a crime has been committed, the case is referred back to DPPC. A DPPC investigation will proceed to determine if abuse, neglect or mistreatment has occurred. Based on the investigation findings, recommendations will be made to determine what additional actions or services should take place.