Studies indicate that people with disabilities are at a higher risk of criminal victimization than those without disabilities. The Essex District Attorney's Office is committed to ensuring that crimes against persons with disabilities are thoroughly investigated and when possible, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. These cases are handled by Assistant District Attorneys and Victim Witness Advocates who are specially trained to respond to these crimes. The office has partnered with the Disabled Persons Protection Commission, the Department of Mental Retardation, the Department of Mental Health, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and local police departments so these cases are investigated in a timely manner to prevent further abuse and hold perpetrators accountable.
In some cases, a crime may be investigated using a multidisciplinary team. The team consists of caseworkers, police officers, Assistant District Attorneys, Victim Witness Advocates and an interview specialist. The team's overall goal is to complete the investigation in a sensitive, timely and professional manner and to reduce the number of times the victim is interviewed.
The following is a list of mandated reporters of suspected abuse against a person with a disability.
- Chiropractors, Podiatrists, Osteopaths
- Probation Officers
- Social Workers
- Police Officers
- Medical Examiners
- Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT's)
- Public or Private School teacher
- Educational Administator
- Guidance or Family Counselor
- An executive director of a licensed home health agency or homemaker
- Manager of an assisted living facility
- Foster parents
- Educational Administrators
- Day Care Workers
- Any person employed by a state agency within the executive office health and human services, as defined by section 16 of Chapter 6A
- Any person employed by a private agency providing services to disabled persons who, in his professional capacity shall have reasonable cause to believe that a disabled person is suffering from a reportable condition
Who else can make reports of suspected abuse of a disabled person?
Anyone who has reasonable cause to believe a disabled person is suffering as a result of abuse may make a report to the Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Commission: 800-426-9009 (24-hour hotline)