Sarah E. Abbott, PhD

Sarah E. Abbott, PhD

Sarah E. Abbott, PhD

Associate Professor, Counseling and Behavioral Health Department

Director, Center for Crisis Response and Behavioral Health

617-327-6777 x290
Degree Major/Emphasis Institution
PhD Law, Policy and Society Northeastern University, Boston, MA
MA Criminal Justice University of Massachusets–Lowell, MA
BA (honors) Community Studies Bradford and Ilkley College, England, UK


  • CJ501 Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health
  • CJ505 Crisis Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment
  • CJ507 Advanced Crisis Response and Practical Simulations

Research and Practice Interests

  • Primary research and practice have focused on the intersection of law enforcement and people in crisis.
  • Co-developed the Framingham Co-Response model and consults internationally on partnerships between police and clinicians.

Professional Licenses and Certifications

  • Licensed Social Worker (LSW), Commonwealth of Massachusetts


  • Team Recipient: Advocates “Bill Taylor Team Award.” (2021)
  • Team Recipient: of the Annual Providers Council Convention and Expo’s “Innovator of the Year” Award (2020)
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts Honorable Judge Robert C. Campion Award (2019)
  • Department of Mental Health Exemplary Performance for Clinical Collaboration with Law Enforcement Award (2016)
  • Framingham Police Department Public Service Award (2009)
  • Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention’s Annual Leadership Award (2009)
  • Framingham Police Department Public Service Award (2008)
  • Framingham Police Department Public Service Award (2007)
  • Department of Mental Health Distinguished Service Award (2005)
  • Thomas M. Wernert Innovation in Community Behavioral Care Award (2004)
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts Service and Commitment Awa

Publications and Presentations

  • April 2022 – "The compatibility of International Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) and Community Safety Co-Response Models in the Irish Jurisdiction" Symposium, Limerick Ireland.
  • March 2022 – The Golda Edinburg Lecture: (Virtual) The Framingham Co-Response Jail Diversion Program: Improving Law Enforcement Responses to Individuals in Crisis.
  • February 2022 – Community Justice in Massachusetts - Collaboration Between System and Community that Reduces Incarceration.
  • February 2022 – Crisis Cops: A New England Perspective.
  • January 2022 – Labouré College of Healthcare: Keynote- Annual Professional Staff Meeting Lessons from the Frontline: Crisis Response, Compassion and the Future of Healthcare.
  • June 2021 – 10th Annual Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. Mental Health and Law Enforcement Conference, (Virtual) Panelist on "Our Work Together - Evidence-Based Outcomes/Best Practices of Jail Diversion Programs: The Co-Response Model."
  • April 2021 – Voices of Empowerment and Social Justice Symposium; (Virtual) Panel presentation "The Intersection of Social Work and Criminal Justice System on Practice and Policy." National Association of Social Workers, Massachusetts Chapter.
  • March 2020 – National Co-Responder Conference,
  • “The Co-Response Experience in Massachusetts; How to Embed Effectively and Forever,” Olathe, KS. *Unable to Attend due to COVID.
  • November 2019 – Mental Health Legal Advisor Committee Annual Conference; Panel participant on Criminal Justice Reform and Mental Health Policy.
  • June 2019 – Department of Mental Health Mental Health and Law Enforcement Conference; Panel participant on Police Wellness Initiatives, Fitchburg, MA.
  • May 2019 – Specialty Court Conference; Pathways, Crossroads, and Exits: Mental Health Issues in Criminal Justice Systems. Panel participant on police diversionary programs. Boston, MA.
  • April 2019 – Panel Moderator and Participant; Critical Incidents, Preparation, Response, and Recovery. Massachusetts Juvenile Police Officer Annual Conference, Norwood, MA.
  • March 2019 – Presentation to representatives of City of Lowell Police Department on Mental Health First Aid training and Co-response replication assistance. Lowell, MA.
  • November 2018 – Evaluating the Impact of a Co-Responder Jail Diversion Program, American Society of Criminology 74th Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA.
  • May 2018 – Co-Response and Arrest Diversion; Massachusetts Middlesex County Restoration Center Commission, Medford, MA.
  • April 2018 – Panel Presentation - Community Conversation on Opioid Crisis. Framingham, MA.
  • October 2017 – Co-Responder Jail Diversion Program Model; Mental Health Advocacy Day, Commonwealth of Massachusetts State House, Boston, MA.
  • April 2017 – Poster Session: Mightier than the Sword: The Promise of Jail Diversion on Police Department Culture. National Council for Behavioral Health Providers Annual Conference, Seattle, WA.
  • October 2016 – Faculty Speaker, Talk of Ages Speaker Series, Lasell Village, Newton, MA.
  • June 2016– Keynote: De-Escalation; Strategies for Success. Department of Mental Health 8th Annual Law Enforcement and Mental Health Partnerships Conference. Fitchburg, MA.
  • May 2016 – Panel presentation. Best Practices in Jail Diversion. Massachusetts Police Chiefs Training series, Norwood, MA.
  • February 2016 – Successfully De-escalating Crisis. Worcester Police Department Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, Worcester, MA.
  • December 2015 – Panel Presentation; Best Practices in Co-Response Jail Diversion; Maynard Police Department, Maynard, MA.
  • October 2015 – Panel Presentation. Mental Health and Law Enforcement Collaborations. Massachusetts Association of Criminal Justice Educators. Fitchburg, MA.
  • September 2015 – Panel Presentation. Best Practices in Jail Diversion. Massachusetts Police Chiefs Training series, Norwood, MA.
  • June 2015 – ASHH Regional Jail Diversion Program. Department of Mental Health and Law Enforcement Annual Conference. Fitchburg, MA.
  • April 2015 – Panel presentation. Mental Health and Police Encounters (CHNA 7), Marlborough, MA.
  • June 2013 – Framingham Jail Diversion Program; Groves Conference on Marriage and Family; Newton, MA.
  • May 2013 – Assisting Families in Need; Wayside Parent Support Network, Framingham, MA.
  • September 2012 – Police and Mental Health Collaborations; Massachusetts Municipal Supervisors Training Program, Marlborough, MA.
  • November 2011 – Policing and Mental Health: Meeting the Standard; Police Accreditation Conference, Brewster, MA.
  • November 2011 – Panel Presentation. Lt. Governors ‘Forum for Veterans, Boston, MA.
  • September 2011 – Co-Responding; How Mental Health Professionals and Police Officers Work Together, International Conference for Police CIT, Virginia Beach, VA.
  • June 2011 – Mental Health Crisis in the Community: Tools for Police Officers, Watertown Police Department, Watertown, MA.
  • June 2010 – An Introduction to the Advocates Pre-Arrest Co-Responder Jail Diversion Program model, Department of Mental Health Annual Forensic In-Service Training, Shrewsbury, MA.
  • May 2010 – Preventing Suicide with the Framingham Jail Diversion Program; Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Conference, Suicide Prevention across the Lifespan: A Strategic Approach for Your Community. Marlborough, MA.
  • June 2009– Who do you call? A Primer on What to Expect When Calling 911 in a Behavioral Health Emergency; Concerned Parents of the Mentally Ill, Framingham Public Library, Framingham, MA.
  • May 2009 – Partnering with Mental Health Advocates; Shrewsbury Police Department, Shrewsbury, MA.
  • April 2009 – Policy Considerations: What Police Departments Need to Know; Massachusetts Police Accreditation Conference, Falmouth, MA.
  • March 2009 – Framingham Jail Diversion Program: A Statewide Model. Presented to Harvard University Medical Students, Harvard University School of Medicine, Boston, MA.
  • November 2008 – Collaborative Partnerships with Police. Presented at the Town of Framingham Human Relations Committee Annual Meeting, Metrowest Medical Center, Framingham Union, Framingham, MA.
  • May 2008 – The Rainmaker, Models of Sustainability. Presented at the Metro West Community Health Care Foundation Learning Conference, Framingham, MA.
  • May 2007 – Replicating the Framingham Jail Diversion Program. Presented to National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Fall River, MA.
  • March 2007 – Diversion of the Mentally Ill. Presented at the Massachusetts Bay Community College Annual Drug Policy Forum. Wellesley, MA.
  • February 2007 – A State-Wide Model for Police/Mental Health Collaborations; Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Annual Conference, Boston, MA.
  • April 2006 – Framingham Jail Diversion Program; Innovations in Police/Mental Health Partnership. National GAINS Center conference, “System Transformation at the Interface of the Criminal Justice and Mental Health Systems.” Boston, MA.
  • May 2005 – Preventing Cell Suicides in Police Custody; How Collaborating with Police Saves Lives. “Taking Action, Saving Lives: Suicide Prevention across the Lifespan.” The Fourth Annual Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Conference. Worcester, MA.
  • October 2004 – Diversion of the Mentally Ill; the Framingham Jail Diversion Program. National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Annual Conference, Westford, MA.
  • October 2004 – Compassionate Justice for the Mentally Ill; Massachusetts Department of Corrections 20th Annual Training Conference, “The New Corrections” Milford, MA.
  • September 2004 – Partnering with Police; What Mental Health Providers Need to Know. Criminal Justice Policy Coalition Annual Conference, Worcester, MA.
  • May 2004 – The Criminalization of the Mentally Ill. Presented at the National GAINS Center conference; “From Science to Services, Emerging Best Practices for People in Contact with the Justice System.” Las Vegas, Nevada.

Concurrent Leadership, Service and Professional Activities

  • Member of the Board of Directors, International Co-Responder Alliance (ICRA)
  • Advisory Board member,  Violently Injured Police Officers (VIPO)

Prior Experience

  • 2021-Present – Founder and Principal - Abbott Solutions for Justice, LLC
  • 2003-March 2021 – Director of Jail Diversion - Advocates, Inc, Framingham, Massachusetts