Mandated Reporter Protection What makes reporting abuse difficult? The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Mandated Reporters are immune from civil or criminal liability as a result of making a report. Professionals may be: • Shocked, angered or embarrassed by information Disabled Persons Protection Commission Non-mandated reporters are also protected pro- • Hearing information that is very contrary to their viding the report was made in “good faith.” own personal standards In addition, the DPPC will conduct investigations • Unclear of their responsibility to report or what into allegations that people have been retaliated constitutes abuse or neglect against for providing information to the DPPC. • Reluctant to become involved • Fearful that reporting will make the situation worse Failure To Report • Reluctant to break the "Code of Silence" among employees Reporting Failure to report incidences of suspected abuse • Fearful of being brought into a legal matter, and neglect can result in severe consequences for where their reputation and character may be ques- the alleged victim, other potential victims and the tioned Mandated Reporter. In Massachusetts, Mandated • Fearful of retaliation from the alleged abuser or agency Reporters who fail to file a report are subject to a • Fearful of alienating the caretaker/abuser and fine of up to $1,000. having needed services refused • Reluctant, when the alleged abuser is a colleague To File A Report Call: Victims may be: 24-HR. HOTLINE: 1-800-426-9009 V/TTY • Unable to explain what happened because of the nature of their disability • Uncomfortable sharing very private, personal Abuse & Neglect information Of Persons With Disabilities • Having intense feelings of fear, shame, and guilt • Dependent on the abuser/perpetrator for assis- tance • Fearful of rejection • Fearful of being blamed for the incident • Fearful of threats of further harm to self or others 1-800-426-9009 V/TTY • Fearful of getting the abuser/perpetrator in trouble For DPPC Training Contact: • Fearful of being left without a home or family • Fearful of violating the abuser/perpetrator's orders Disabled Persons Protection Commission Deval L. Patrick Governor 300 Granite Street, Suite 404 Timothy P. Murray Lieutenant Governor Braintree, MA 02184 Mass. Department of Children & Families (DCF) Jack McCarthy Chairman Phone: 1-800-792-5200 Ages birth to 17 Carla A. Goodwin, Ph.D. Commissioner Phone: (617) 727-6465 Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC) Jo Ann Sprague Commissioner (888) 822-0350 V/TTY Phone: 1-800-426-9009 Ages 18 to 59 Nancy A. Alterio Executive Director Fax: (617) 727-6469 Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) This pamphlet was made possible through a grant Web: http://www.mass.gov/dppc/ Phone: 1-800-922-2275 Ages 60 & above provided by the Executive Office of Public Safety (EOPS) What is the D.P.P.C.? What Is A Mandated Reporter? What To Do When An Individual Reports Abuse Or Neglect The Disabled Persons Protection Commis- Mandated Reporters are persons who, as a result of sion (DPPC) is an independent state agency their profession, are more likely to be aware of abuse • Be calm and supportive created by legislation in 1987. Massachusetts of persons with disabilities. Mandated Reporters are • Never agree to keep the information secret General Law chapter 19C (M.G.L. c. 19C) required, by law, to report cases of suspected abuse • Seek privacy so the individual is protected from established the DPPC to protect adults with to the DPPC when they have a suspicion that a disclosing in public mental and physical disabilities, between person with a disability is suffering from a reportable • Assure the individual that she/he did the right the ages of 18 and 59, from abuse or ne- condition of abuse or neglect. thing by telling you about the allegation glect by their caregiver(s) whether in a pri- In Massachusetts, mandated reporting is an • Never blame the victim vate, family or state care setting. individual responsibility. It is up to the individual • Do not investigate The DPPC enabling statute fills the gap be- reporter to be certain that a report of suspected • Immediately report the suspected abuse or neglect tween the child abuse (through the age of 17) abuse or neglect is filed. Mandated Reporters • Maintain confidentiality and elder abuse (age 60 and over) statutes. should not rely on others, such as supervisors or administrators, to file reports for them. Mission Statement How To File A DPPC Report All allegations of abuse or neglect should be The mission of the DPPC is “To protect reported immediately and appropriately, regardless When you suspect that abuse or neglect of a person adults with disabilities from the abusive of the personal feelings of knowledgeable staff. with a disability has occurred: acts or omissions of their caregivers Call the DPPC 24-Hour Hotline at: through investigation, oversight, public Who Are Mandated Reporters? awareness and prevention." 1-800-426-9009 V/TTY * Medical personnel * Medical examiners Role of the D.P.P.C. * Social workers * Foster parents The State Police Detective Unit In cases of suspected physical, emotional and * Police officers * Probation officers sexual abuse or neglect of a person with men- During fiscal year 1998, a State Police tal or physical disabilities, the DPPC: * Educational administrators * Dentists Detective Unit (SPDU) was established * Guidance counselors * Family counselors within the Commission. The SPDU is • Receives and screens reports of suspected comprised of a Detective Lieutenant, abuse and neglect through a 24-Hr. Hotline, * Daycare workers * Psychologists Sergeant and three troopers. The SPDU is physically • Receives and screens reports of all deaths, when an individual has died while in the * Public and private school teachers located within the offices of the DPPC. The troop- ers of the SPDU review 100% of all complaints re- care of a state or private service provider, * Employees of private agen- * Employees of state agencies ceived by the Commission to determine which of • Conducts investigations, cies providing services to in the Executive Office of • Oversees investigations conducted by other people with disabilities Health & Human Services these complaints constitute criminal activity against state agencies (the Department of Mental a person with a disability. When there is an appear- ance of criminal activity, the report is referred to the Retardation, Department of Mental Health, What Is Reportable? appropriate District Attorney’s office. and Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commis- sion) on the DPPC’s behalf, The standard for reporting suspected abuse or • Ensures that appropriate protective services Contacting The Police neglect in Massachusetts is any situation where there are provided when abuse is substantiated, is a reasonable suspicion to believe that abuse or Abuse or neglect committed against a person with a • Provides training and education for service neglect exists. Neglect may include patient on patient disability might also be a crime. Call your local po- providers, law enforcement personnel and abuse. lice immediately if you think a crime, such as an as- others, and sault & battery, sexual assault, rape or larceny has • Provides assistance to callers in clarifying “If you suspect abuse or neglect, trust been committed. In an emergency, contact your lo- the presence of abuse or neglect. your feelings and report to the DPPC.” cal police department by dialing 911.
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