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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Implementation Stage
Creation of a Memorandum of Understanding

The cornerstone of BPI is a formal memorandum of understanding (MOU), specific to each jurisdiction, that describes each agency's role and responsibility in recognizing, reporting, investigating, and prosecuting cases involving victims with disabilities. Just the existence of the MOU is beneficial in that it requires jurisdictions to address issues of abuse before they become problems and prevents agencies from duplicating services and resources. In short, cases are less likely to fall through the cracks.

Unique to BPI, in Massachusetts, a state police detective unit is assigned to the Disabled Persons Protection Commission (an adult protective services agency that receives reports of suspected abuse). The unit comprises experienced law enforcement officers who review each report of abuse to determine the existence, if any, of a crime. Referral, if appropriate, is then made to the district attorney in whose jurisdiction the alleged abuse occurred. A specially designated assistant district attorney then reviews the referral, assigns it for further investigation by local or state police in his or her jurisdiction, and decides whether there is sufficient evidence to support a prosecution. During the review and investigation phase, there is ongoing communication with the adult protective services investigator—a procedure that is uniform throughout the Commonwealth because of the MOU. BPI's steering committee has recognized that team membership is not static and has ensured that when the inevitable occurs—a change in team membership for any one agency or jurisdiction—the process will remain in place.