Compulsory social measures and placements

Up to 1981, tens of thousands of children and young people were indentured by the authorities to farms as a cheap source of labour, or placed in severely managed homes, or in secure institutions or even prisons, without any form of court ruling. These children and young people often experienced unspeakable suffering and injustice. In some cases they were exposed to immense physical and psychological violence, were exploited, (sexually) abused, and suffered enormously from the separation from their parents and siblings.

Furthermore, some young women were put under enormous psychological pressure and forced to undergo abortion or sterilization procedures without their consent. Compulsory adoptions of one or more children were also common. Some children and young people were placed in homes or medical institutions, and used as subjects in trials of new substances, or medicated against their will. Little about these practices has been established to date, but the current academic enquiry will soon provide more information.

There has been much change at the social and political level in only a short time, resulting in a rethink. With almost record speed, the Federal Act on Compulsory Social Measures and Placements prior to 1981 (CSMPA) was drafted and passed by both chambers of Parliament with clear majorities. The Act came into force on 1 April 2017, and the process of coming to terms with the past is now underway.

We invite you to find out more about the history of this issue and its various aspects by reading the information on this website.

Further information

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