The Building Partnerships for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities Initiative (BPI) changed the way Massachusetts responds to crimes committed against persons with disabilities. Because of BPI, persons with disabilities have equal access to the criminal justice system and the same protections as the population at large. The benefits of a multidisciplinary team approach are obvious:
- Common goals and objectives among the people and agencies that assist crime victims with disabilities.
- Increased outreach to persons with disabilities and to those responding to abuse committed against persons with disabilities.
- Immediate and effective communication among those who respond to crime victims with disabilities and to the crime victims themselves, preventing duplication of services, multiple deliveries of the same message by all parties, and so forth.
- Reduction in the number of victim interviews.
- Coordination between adult protective and human services personnel, service providers, law enforcement officials, and others.
- Enhanced integrity, reliability, and effectiveness of investigations and decisionmaking.
- Consistent support and followup for persons with disabilities.
- Streamlined and increased referrals for criminal investigations.
- Increased arrest and prosecution rates.
Among the many lessons learned from BPI is that the following elements enhance the safety and well-being of persons with disabilities:
- Legislative changes.
- Policy development.
- Collaboration between law enforcement, prosecutors, advocates, adult protective and human services agencies, medical personnel, and self-advocates.
For more information about the Massachusetts BPI, please visit its Web site or contact
Disabled Persons Protection Commission, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
300 Granite Street, Suite 404
Braintree, MA 02184