Conditions in Institutions

Disability inclusion resources from around the world

Library > Subjects > Independent Living and Deinstitutionalization > Conditions in Institutions

This page has curated news on Conditions in Institutions. There are resources from 25 countries and regions, with a total of 62 links.

Highlights

From Australia:

People with disabilities in group homes are suffering shocking abuse. New housing models could prevent harm. “This latest report shows 17,000 Australians living in group homes are too frequently subjected to sexual misconduct, coercion, serious injury, abuse and neglect.” (2023, The Conversation) See also the lack of independent monitoring of group homes (The Guardian).

From the Czechia:

From hospitals back to life An in-depth feature on pyschiatric institutions. "I've been in the hospital since I was eighteen. I'm eighty-one now." (in Czech but google translate seems to make sense, 2022, iROZHLAS)

From Indonesia:

‘Not To Be Feared’ Reports from one of Indonesia's last remaining leprosy settlements. (2022, Disability Justice Project)

From New Zealand:

‘There was no respect or effort to recognise me for who I was’:

“Artist and dancer Lusi Faiva was two when, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, she was taken to live in an institution for people with intellectual disabilities. She spent five years at the Kimberley Centre, experiencing neglect, terrible loneliness, alienation from her Sāmoan heritage and a sense of entrapment which has inspired a lifetime of seeking expression and freedom.” (2023, The Spinoff)

From Poland:

Horror Behind Closed Doors of Polish Residential Institution. “Women and Girls with Intellectual Disabilities Beaten, Tied, and Locked in Caged Bed” (2022, Human Rights Watch)

From Romania:

Romania horrified by inhumane abuse in care centres for disabled “an investigation revealed that a well-established criminal network involving state officials and private individuals ran “Nazi camps-style” care centres for disabled people who were left to starve without food or care.” (2023, Euractiv)

Resources by country:

Global

International News

Deinstitutionalization as Reparative Justice: A Commentary on the Guidelines on Deinstitutionalization, including in Emergencies (Mar, Laws)

Joint Position on Large Foster Care

‘“Large” foster care, where large numbers of unrelated children are placed in one household, must not be considered a form of “family-based” care and is not acceptable as a component of state policy.’ (Mar, Global Coalition on Deinstitutionalization)

Over 450,000 children institutionalized across Europe, Central Asia. A UNICEF investigation “reveals that children with disabilities account for up to 87 per cent of those in care, where data is available.” (Jan, UN)

Redressing the harms of segregation and institutionalisation. Linda Steele and Gerard Quinn in conversation:

“Institutionalization continues to shape the present because we have policies and laws that replicate many of the dynamics of institutions. There might not be big buildings, but we have group homes. Which are smaller residential settings where people with disability continue to be congregated and segregated from the community, continue to have little choice in the supports they receive in their daily activities. They might not have a lot of privacy. They might not be able to choose who they live with. And they're also exposed to... Violence in those settings as well. We also have laws such as laws that allows sterilization and sub minimum wages and restrictive practices and forced mental health treatment. And many of the practices that happened in the big buildings in the institutions still carry on in the community as well.” (2023, Disability Dialogues)

Feeding practices of children within institution-based care: A retrospective analysis of surveillance data. “Feeding difficulties are common among children living in institution-based care (IBC), particularly but not exclusively among those children with disabilities.” (2022, Maternal & Child Nutrition)

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Eastern Europe and Central Asia

The role of boarding schools for vulnerable children A summary of evidence on the current use and impact of boarding schools in the Europe and Central Asia region. (May, UNICEF)

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Africa

South Africa

Provincial funding for many Gauteng care homes have been slashed. “Thousands of frail and vulnerable people, some with disabilities, others elderly or orphaned, may have to spend the winter on the streets as the nonprofit organisations (NPO) that have cared for them can no longer do so.” (2023, The Citizen)

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Asia

India

End Lifelong Warehousing of People with Disabilities “Authorities in the Delhi government should act on recommendations of the governing board of a shelter for people with disabilities to end the lifelong institutionalization of its nearly 1,000 residents” (Jan, Human Rights Watch)

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Indonesia

‘Not To Be Feared’ Reports from one of Indonesia's last remaining leprosy settlements. (2022, Disability Justice Project)

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South Korea

Grave concern on recent claims in Korea that institutions for disabled people in Europe are models of good practice. (2023, ENIL)

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Europe

Europe

Cases of state aid being spent on institutions. “State aid is a field for which the EU has strong regulatory and enforcement competences but so far does not take into account the rights of disabled people when investigating individual measures. ” (Jan, ENIL)

The role of state aid in the maintenance of institutions for disabled people A case study on Germany and Portugal (Link to pdf, 2023, ENIL)

Why does Europe keep funding institutions and what can be done about it? (2023, EDF)

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Austria

Going in the wrong direction, “In Carinthia, despite all human rights recommendations, a new residential facility for disabled children is currently being built” (2023, ENIL)

Disability organisations accuse Austria of misuse of EU rural funds in plans to build a residential facility for children with disabilities. (2022, Euractiv)

How did people in institutions fare during the corona pandemic? Short animated video comparing independent living solutions to the confinement in institutions. (Youtube, in German with English subtitles, 2021, Unabhängiger Monitoringausschuss)

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Bulgaria

Joint statement: Stop funding institutions in Bulgaria! (2023, EDF)

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Czechia

Deaths and abuse of people with severe intellectual disabilities and autism in Czechia. “37-years old woman with intellectual disabilities was killed by a staff member of a “care” institution in Czechia”. (2022, Inclusion Europe)

From hospitals back to life An in-depth feature on pyschiatric institutions. "I've been in the hospital since I was eighteen. I'm eighty-one now." (in Czech but google translate seems to make sense, 2022, iROZHLAS)

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Denmark

Denmark apologizes for abuse of people with disabilities “The Danish government has apologized to thousands of people with disabilities who were abused in state-run facilities. The ill-treatment took place over decades and left deep emotional and physical scars.” (2023, DW)

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Hungary

Court rules Hungarian state authorities responsible “for multiple, grave violations of the rights of 220 adults and children with disabilities detained in the notorious Topház Social Care Home.” (Feb, Validity Foundation)

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Ireland

Regulator warned disability services provider over ‘unsafe environment’ in residential homes. (2022, Irish Times)

Ireland is tarnished by its use of prisons to house the unwanted and mentally ill (2022, The Journal)

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Moldova

Institutionalised neglect and psychiatric placement for mildly disabled child in State care illustrates systemic discrimination:

“The Court found in particular that the existing Moldovan legal framework fell short of the State’s duty (“positive obligation”) to establish and apply effectively a system providing protection to intellectually disabled persons in general, and to children without parental care in particular, against serious breaches of their integrity.” (Mar, European Court of Human Rights)

European Court Judgment Exposes Discrimination and Abuse of Children with Disabilities. “The Court’s ruling sheds lights on systemic failures within Moldova’s legal framework, particularly concerning the involuntary placement of children with disabilities in psychiatric hospitals and the absence of independent safeguards to prevent abuse.” (Mar, Validity)

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Netherlands

Inspectorate sees staggering conditions in an institutional setting with abuse of clients. (In Dutch, 2023, NOS)

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Poland

Horror Behind Closed Doors of Polish Residential Institution. “Women and Girls with Intellectual Disabilities Beaten, Tied, and Locked in Caged Bed” (2022, Human Rights Watch)

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Romania

Romania horrified by inhumane abuse in care centres for disabled “an investigation revealed that a well-established criminal network involving state officials and private individuals ran “Nazi camps-style” care centres for disabled people who were left to starve without food or care.” (2023, Euractiv)

Regarding abuses in institutions for disabled people in Romania a statement from the European Network on Independent Living. “This is the result of a continued refusal by the Romanian Government to move away from institutional care and develop services that will allow children, disabled and older people to live in their own homes in the community, with adequate independent living support.” (2023, ENIL)

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Spain

Faeces on the face and ice water baths the torture of young people with disabilities in a residence in La Palma, and a director of the residence imprisoned. (In Spanish, 2023, SER)

A fire in a care home for disabled people killled one person and injured ten more. (2023, RTVE)

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Ukraine

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities who are Institutionalised in Wartime Research findings. (2023, Kharkiv Institute for Social Research) See also a blog from EDF.

Perils of War for Children in Institutions.

“The Ukraine war has had traumatic and devastating consequences for children in residential institutions, including forcible transfers to Russia and separation from their families. The impact on institutionalized children points out the urgency of the need to remove them from institutions and provide support for family and community care.” (2023, Human Rights Watch)

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United Kingdom

People 'locked up' in hospitals. Campaign group calls on the Welsh government to publish data and give more support to families. (Apr, BBC)

Inside the "barbaric" mental health units holding autistic adults and children. “Nearly 2,000 adults and hundreds of children with learning disabilities or autism are being held in mental health units, with an average stay of more than five years, despite repeated abuse scandals.” (2023, Politics Home)

Learning-disabled and autistic people are being neglected and tortured. “Across the UK, revelations of institutional abuse keep mounting up, yet people are still being denied basic respect” (2023, the Guardian)

The shameful legacy of the Lennox Castle hospital Scotland's largest institutiono for people with learning disabilities, which closed 20 years ago. (2022, BBC)

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North America

Canada

My sister was sent to a nursing home against her will. We fought and won, but thousands of others aren’t so lucky.

“Three years after my sister was wrongly assessed, a news exposé revealed that 2,900 young people with developmental disabilities were in nursing homes in Ontario”. (Mar, Toronto Star)

Why there is so much happiness in this long-term care home that doubles as a Grade 6 classroom. (2022, CBC)

Making the invisible visible: an interview with Megan Linton about the harms of the institutional system, COVID-19, and disability justice. (2022, Canadian Dimension)

Discussion of and key points on Sheltered Workshops and Sub-Minimum Wage Labour 'Workers on average work more than 2 years in sheltered workshops, despite their label of “training programs”.' (2022, Invisible Institutions)

Warehousing disabled people in long-term care homes needs to stop. Instead, nationalize home care. (2022, the Conversation)

Invisible Institutions Podcast “a new documentary podcast exploring the past and present of institutions for people labelled with intellectual and developmental disabilities” (2022, Invisible Institutions)

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Mexico

Review of 'Bedlam in the New World: A Mexican Madhouse in the Age of Enlightenment' “a social and micro-history of the Hospital de San Hipólito, the first hospital established in the Western Hemisphere to specialize in the care of those encountering mental disorders and madness.” (2023, H-Disability)

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United States

Algorithms guide senior home staffing. “The nation’s largest assisted-living chain uses a staffing algorithm; some managers say they quit or were fired after they complained it left facilities dangerously short-handed” (Apr, Washington Post)

16,000 people with disabilities are in state-operated institutions. This is how experts say health care should change. (Apr, CBS)

An N.C. hospital sues an 18-year-old to move to a nursing home. She says no. (Feb, NPR)

Decades after state institutions shut down, their history could shape the country’s approach to prisons:

“Decarceration efforts led to the closure of psychiatric hospitals and large facilities that warehoused people with disabilities. Activists against mass incarceration can learn from the past.” (2023, 19th News)

Book review of 'Public Hostage, Public Ransom: Ending Institutional America' an autobiography by William Bronston. (2023, H-Disability)

Unsafe: Abuse and neglect of Arizona's most vulnerable can happen anywhere (2022, Kjzz)

At a Remote Mental Health Facility, a Culture of Cruelty Persists Despite Decades of Warnings. (2022, Pro Publica)

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Oceania

Australia

Listening to People with Intellectual Disability about Institutions “This article provides a model of inclusive research for turning the harms of past institutionalisation into an educational and reparative experience.” (2023, International Journal of Disability and Social Justice)

People with disabilities in group homes are suffering shocking abuse. New housing models could prevent harm. “This latest report shows 17,000 Australians living in group homes are too frequently subjected to sexual misconduct, coercion, serious injury, abuse and neglect.” (2023, The Conversation) See also the lack of independent monitoring of group homes (The Guardian).

Damning aged care audit reveals abuse and neglect of residents across the country. (2022, the Guardian)

Sites of conscience redressing disability institutional violence (2022, Incarceration)

Victorian government seizes control of supported care homes over abuse, ‘uninhabitable conditions’ (2022, SMH)

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New Zealand

The horrors of Kimberley “For over 50 years, the Kimberley Centre in Levin billed itself as a home away from home for hundreds of vulnerable New Zealanders. Behind the facade was a site of unspeakable abuse.” (2023, The Spinoff)

‘There was no respect or effort to recognise me for who I was’:

“Artist and dancer Lusi Faiva was two when, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, she was taken to live in an institution for people with intellectual disabilities. She spent five years at the Kimberley Centre, experiencing neglect, terrible loneliness, alienation from her Sāmoan heritage and a sense of entrapment which has inspired a lifetime of seeking expression and freedom.” (2023, The Spinoff)

Complaints laid after woman found in own faeces, weighing 35kg at a residential care home. (2022, NZ Herald)

Abuse in Care: “Men raped disabled children, paid staff for access”. Testimonies from a commission of inquiry into institutional care. Further coverage at: 'a prison with no bars' and 'you can't walk away from this'. (2022, Stuff) Also on NZ Herald: 'hellhole, worse than prison'

Chief Ombudsman scathing of environment at Wakari Hospital ward "We're mixing in this facility – not just patients who are mentally ill and need caring for – but we’re mixing them with those who come from a different forensic stream who have been involved in criminal offending and who are there for a very different reason; it’s not safe." (2022, 1 News)

He Purapura Ora, he Māra Tipu. A report on survivors of abuse in care, their efforts to restore their lives and hold governments to account. (2021, Abuse in Care Inquiry)

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