Tech & Rights

10 Years of Suffering and Mistreatment in Czech Childcare Institution

The institution in Chrastava has continuously mistreated young boys for a decade. In that time, only limited improvements have been made in some areas, and the situation has even worsened in many respects.

by The League of Human Rights
(Image: lafleur)
The institution has not fulfilled its obligations for 10 years. Three consecutive Czech ombudsmen have reached this alarming conclusion after visiting the facility, which has completely ignored the complaints as educational practices continue.

The aim of systematic visits by public advocates in institutions for children with serious behavioral disorders - boys 12 to 18 years in this case - is to strengthen the protection of persons deprived of their freedom from all forms of maltreatment.

Contact parents with good behavior

Apart from lawyers and ombudsmen, special education teachers — leading experts on child education — also participated at the visits. All ombudsmen, including current ombudswoman Anna Šabatová, recorded the same or similar misconduct in their reports. Only limited improvement has happened over the past 10 years. In many respects the situation has even worsened:

  • the system of education is based on repression and restriction of the basic needs of every human being (fresh air, telephone contact with friends and family, no extra food portions);
  • the overall climate is very negative and tension tends to escalate;
  • the approach toward the boys is based on command, from a position of power, does not take individual needs into account, nor any mental or moral boundaries;
  • the scoring system for boys' behavior is very discouraging, complicated, confusing, affected even by the slightest transgressions and expression of emotions (e.g., "for talking in the dining room you lose two points") which raises tension and fear among the boys placed there;
  • children who visit their parents or legal representatives may do so only as a privilege linked to the points system, even though such visits are a legal right for the children;
  • no professional psychological care is arranged or guaranteed.

Common care violations

In educational facilities for institutional and protective upbringing, maltreatment can have these forms:

  • infringement of the right to privacy and right to family life;
  • increasing care dependency;
  • disregard for social autonomy;
  • and the right to participate in decisions about their own lives.

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