Formation of a Steering Committee
The initial phase of BPI implementation included the formation of a steering committee. Recognizing the need to be inclusive, BPI leaders invited representatives from law enforcement, prosecution, all of the human service agencies that work with persons with disabilities, and adult protective services to form the steering committee. As work progressed and further needs were identified, additional steering committee members were added, including self-advocates and representatives from statewide victim services and additional state agencies. (Self-advocates are persons with disabilities who work to advance the personal and environmental conditions affecting themselves and other persons with disabilities.)
BPI was implemented through written agreements and protocols, statutory changes, curriculum development, and mandatory trainings with identified partners in law enforcement, adult protective and human services, and others. Massachusetts district attorneys' offices were designated as lead agencies for this prosecution-based model.
BPI team members work collectively to promote BPI's four goals:
- Provide protection, treatment, and continuity of care to persons with disabilities.
- Increase awareness of crimes being committed against persons with disabilities.
- Increase communication and cooperation between law enforcement and agencies providing services to persons with disabilities.
- Ensure that crimes committed against persons with disabilities are promptly reported, investigated by trained law enforcement personnel, and prosecuted by experienced assistant district attorneys.
The steering committee sets BPI's annual agenda and legislative efforts, approves its budget, and oversees its training activities. The hallmark of the Massachusetts BPI has been its ability to ensure support from the highest levels while implementing its initiatives "on the ground." Current agencies represented on the steering committee follow:
- Department of Developmental Services.
- Department of Mental Health.
- Department of Public Health.
- Disabled Persons Protection Commission.
- Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance.
- Massachusetts State Police.
- Office of the Attorney General.
- Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.
- Massachusetts District Attorneys Association.
- Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong.
- Massachusetts Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.