The Office for Human Rights (OHR) oversees a system of safeguards to affirm, promote and protect the human and civil rights of the people the Department supports. Under this system individuals are engaged to the maximum extent feasible in directing their own lives. The system also helps individuals overcome obstacles to leading more vital and satisfying lives in more typical settings, and to be free from abuse and mistreatment.

OHR provides support and oversight to the Department's human rights system. OHR works with other offices and divisions as an ombudsperson for identifying and clarifying confusion over rules and regulations affecting human rights of individuals. There are four Human Rights Specialists within the OHR, one per region, who provide these services to agencies and programs across the Commonwealth.

System of Safeguards:

Every Departmental and private provider agency appoints Human Rights Officers and Human Rights Coordinators who are responsible for human rights trainings and support for individuals and their families.  They officers offer advice, information, and guidance to direct staff on human rights issues. The  Human Rights Coordinator also acts as liaison between the agency's administration and its human rights committee. OHR supports the training of the Officers and Coordinators.

Human Rights Committees help service providers determine how they will affirm, promote, and protect the human and civil rights of people the Department supports. These committees also monitor and review the activities of the provider with regard to these rights. Human Rights Committees are fully empowered under the Department's regulations to take action to uphold these rights, particularly regarding any limitation of movement, or other restrictions being placed on an individual.

There is also a statewide Human Rights Advisory Committee (HRAC). This committee advises the Commissioner on affirming, promoting, protecting and monitoring the human and civil rights of persons DDS supports. It also advises the OHR Director on efforts to fulfill the obligations of the office.

Richard Santucci
Director for Human Rights

Restraint Authorizer Legal Training:

A mandated training for anyone approved to authorize use of emergency restraint October 2012

  • Please review the following Training Instructions before completing the curriculum

Training Instructions  pdf format of Training Instructions
doc format of                             Training Instructions

Human Rights Resources for Families

The DDS Human Rights Advisory Committee along with DDS has produced a survey brochure providing guidance to families and guardians on their role from a human rights perspective.

Human Rights Resources for Self-Advocates

Training Modules


This information is provided by the Department of Developmental Services.