When placed in a mental health care institution, you should not be deliberately exposed to physical or verbal abuse by anyone. It can never be considered to be a part of the medical treatment process.

During your stay in a mental health care institution, the personnel must not physically or verbally abuse you. They have to control the other inhabitants of the institution as well, so that they do not abuse you. You should tell the personnel if someone else abuses you, because they might not know about this fact and therefore would not be able to help you.

What human rights violation may there be?

Use of physical or verbal abuse while you are being escorted or during your stay in the institution may result in a violation of your human rights. When placed in a mental health care institution, you may feel particularly vulnerable because you are under the control of the authorities and cannot leave. If you are physically or verbally abused in such a situation, it may result not only in physical pain and suffering, but also in serious psychological effects. It may result in a violation of the prohibition of inhumane or degrading treatment.

However, to be considered inhumane or degrading treatment, the mistreatment must reach at least a minimum level of severity. When assessing whether you have been treated in an inhumane or degrading way, such things as the duration of the mistreatment, the physical and psychological effects, your age, gender and level of health would be taken into account.

For mistreatment to be considered torture, the actions have to be particularly serious and cruel and cause very severe suffering. Read more about how to evaluate whether your rights have been violated.

Read about the possibility of complaining.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education