Security measures during treatment

Security measures must only be applied if they are strictly necessary to ensure your safety or the safety of other persons during your medical treatment.

Security measures, such as restraints or even physical force may be applied only if they are absolutely necessary and only for as long as they are necessary. These measures should not restrict you more than is necessary for your particular situation and condition. 

Conditions and requirements

There are certain conditions and requirements that must be taken into account when prison staff use any means of physical restraint. These are:

  • Whether there is any danger requiring the use of special security measures? 
  • Whether there are other, less coercive means to ensure safety and order?
  • Whether the method of restraint or other security measure is appropriate for the situation and person involved?
  • Whether the measure was used only for as long as it was necessary? 


The security measures should not be applied to you in a manner that interferes with your medical treatment. These measures must not humiliate or hurt you. Chaining and handcuffs must not be applied to women during gynecological examinations and childbirth.

What human rights violation may there be?

Prohibition against inhumane or degrading treatment

In certain situations, the use of security measures may lead to a violation of your right not to be treated in an inhumane or degrading way, if they were applied unnecessarily, too restrictively or for too long. 

example If a woman is handcuffed to a bed during labour, this may amount to inhumane or degrading treatment. 

However, the effect the security measures leave on your physical or mental condition must reach a certain level of severity. Read more about how to evaluate whether your rights have been violated.

How to complain

If you believe that your rights have been violated, you should complain to the prison administration. Read more about how to complain

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education