The Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC) is responsible for investigating complaints of abuse against a person with a disability by a caretaker. Mandated and non-mandated reporters report suspected instances of abuse of a person with a disability by filing a verbal report with the DPPC Hotline at 1-800-426-9009 and by submitting a written report to the DPPC.

Based on the person's reported disability, the report is then forwarded to the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) Protective Service Program, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Investigation Unit or the Department of Mental Health (DMH) Investigation Unit for the purpose of conducting an investigation and providing services to the abused individual.

Under the authority and oversight of the DPPC and per M.G.L. chapter 19c, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Protective Service Program (MRC PSP) conducts civil investigations of allegations of abuse such as acts of physical, sexual, emotional, verbal abuse and omission by a caregiver of a person with a physical disability between the ages of 18 and 59. Protective services are provided to prevent further injury when it is determined that the abused individual was seriously injured as a result of an act and/or omission by the caregiver.

Instances of abuse investigated by the MRC PSP are considered external investigations as they are conducted in a community setting. During the course of an investigation, the abused individual is interviewed at his/her home, a day program, the hospital (if and when admitted due to injuries sustained), or a mutually agreed setting if the home presents a risk to the individual.

As part of the investigative process, the allegations are addressed with the caregiver, collateral contacts such as the reporter, medical personnel, social workers, case managers, law enforcement, psychiatrists, personal care attendants and/or family members. All pertinent medical documentation and police reports, if and when appropriate, are reviewed.

The MRC PSP works collaboratively with law enforcement officials and the District Attorney's office in cases of abuse involving criminal activity.

When it is determined that the abused individual was seriously injured as a result of abuse, the case is opened and the MRC PSP Investigator is responsible to provide protective services to prevent further injury.

Facts At A Glance

  • Protective Services offered to the abused individual are voluntary and are targeted to maintain the safety and independence of the individual.
  • Protective Services are short-term and cases are open for a period of three months to six months and in rare instances up to two years, depending on the level of abuse.
  • MRC PSP Investigators develop individualized service plans and safety plans to target risk issues, and to identify means to prevent further abuse.
  • MRC PSP Investigators play an integral role in the elimination of abuse and reduction of further risk through crisis intervention, advocacy, securing community resources as needed and by working with appropriate entities and service providers to ensure the safety of the abused individual while maintaining his/her independence in the community.
  • The MRC PSP Program is located in Taunton, MA and consists of five Investigators, two Supervisors, one Administrative Assistant and one Administrator.
    • Investigators are housed in the main office in Taunton and have use of satellite offices in the Boston and Western MA regions. The coverage and assigned area for Investigators is the Commonwealth of MA.
    • Two Investigators are situated in a satellite office in Worcester with Central, MA, Western, MA and the Berkshires as their assigned area.

All reports of suspected abuse of a person with a disability should be made to the Disabled Persons Protection Commission's 24 hour hotline at 1-800-426-9009.

The Protective Services Program is located in the Taunton Area Office
21 Spring Street, Second Floor, Taunton, MA 02780
Tel: (508) 823-2874 or (888)-845-7161 Fax: (508) 823-5186
Sabrina Cazeau-Class, Director

This information is provided by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.