Office for Victims of Crime
State-level Replication Guide
 September 2012 Text size: decrease font size increase font size   Send e-mail icon

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Development Stage

Before the Building Partnerships for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities Initiative (BPI), relationships between adult protective and human services agencies and law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts had, at best, been strained. In fact, with few exceptions, there was no relationship. The blame did not lie with any particular agency. There was a perception that adult protective and human services and law enforcement had competing interests. Other times, because of the lack of an established system of reporting, cases fell through the cracks. Some in adult protective and human services felt that law enforcement's main objective was to arrest and prosecute without regard for the needs of the victim or defendant. In addition, law enforcement agencies had been reluctant to investigate cases involving persons with disabilities because of the difficulties involved and the time it takes to investigate and successfully prosecute them.

The Raynham, Massachusetts, "house of horrors" case described in the Foreword and several other high-profile cases became the subjects of a Commonwealth investigation that culminated in a scathing legislative report (House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight, 1997). The report, which capped a multiyear review of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) (then named the Department of Mental Retardation), found deficiencies in communication and serious problems with the department's investigations and its responses to abuse and client deaths. DDS, it was concluded, had lost sight of its mission—to focus on the health and safety of its clients.

This section covers the investigations advisory panel that was convened in response to the report and the implementation committee that was created to develop a multidisciplinary approach that would address the panel's recommendations. This approach later became BPI.