37-years old woman with intellectual disabilities was killed by a staff member of a “care” institution in Czechia, writes the weekly Respekt in an extensive article exposing multiple cases of abuse, and deaths. What follows are excerpts from the article.
The case was kept from public view until now, together with some of the others described in the article.
The woman’s name is Dorota Šandorová, and she was placed in an institution together with her sister long time ago.
- Dorota was often described as “problematic” and “disruptive to the collective”.
- She was placed in “household 05”, where people who “need the highest levels of assistance” were placed within the institution.
The case of Dorota Šandorová, who was killed by the care worker during his night shift, who lay on her – he claims to have been trying to calm her down – bend her hands brutally behind her back, and pressed on her body with full force, causing her to lose consciousness and suffocate, was never mentioned anywhere in public.
- And the silence persists. This crime has not been discussed by social workers or other professionals to evaluate what went wrong and learn from it. Bureaucrats or politicians never mentioned it. The director of the institutions never explained to the staff what actually happened. Nobody received an invitation to Dorota’s funeral, organised by the City of Jindřichův Hradec, Dorota’s guardian, without guests.
- From the Regional authority of Jihočeský kraj, which is the founder of the institution, nobody arrived to visit or for inspection. “I invited the director,” regional councillor responsible says. “He ensured me it was purely a solitary failure of one specific person.”
On the contrary, says the article’s author: Dorota’s death was the culmination of years of practice in an abusive environment.
- “One day, when I helped Dorota change, I noticed she has a big bruise on her back, which she could not cause on her own,” says one of the carers working in the institution. “In a couple of days, she had another bruise on her arm.”
- Following investigation found that some of the assistants beat the residents, and kick them. There were also stories of one resident being slapped by staff member, of doors kicked out as a resident tried to get out of room they were locked in.
Dorota was killed during night from 6 to 7 January 2021.
- The men responsible for her death worked in the institution for another 2 months, when he was dismissed shortly before the police charged him and placed in police custody.
- He was dismissed because he set on another resident of “household 05” to ride on a horse to entertain his colleagues.
- The man admitted to killing Dorota, maintaining he intended to calm her down, not kill her.
- He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for murder.
- Appeal court changed the verdict to death by negligence, with 3 years prison sentence. He was released this summer after serving half of his sentence.
Dorota’s case illustrates failure in the social services system for people with autism and severe disabilities.
- Vojtěch Krejča, yound man with autism, spent several weeks in a psychiatric hospital under strong medication. Only after this, it was discovered he suffered from strong tooth aches, causing his distress.
- Věra Musilová, young woman with intellectual disabilities, spent first 20 years of her life happily living with her family. At year 25, she started to have mental health issues, and serious behaviour problems. She was hospitalised in psychiatric hospital on multiple occasions. During her last hospitalisation in 2006, she spent almost 3 months without break in bed with nets. She constantly screamed, broke everything she could get hold of. She died in the net-bed on suffocation eating her own faeces.
“They end up in psychiatric hospitals because no social care service wants them.”
In Czechia, institutional “care” still persists, very unsuitable for people with demanding behaviours. Most of the abuse uncovered during the past year for this article took place in institutions.
- Abusing emergency medical care to remove people and place them into psychiatric hospitals.
- Neglect of care, such as in care home in Prague, where last summer 2 care workers left a woman with severe intellectual disabilities without supervision during batch, and she drowned to death. (This case has also been kept from the public.)
Full article: Kdo zabil Dorotu Š.
- “My biggest fear is that I will be put back into an institution”
- “No institution can replace a proper family”
- “It didn’t take long before I knew that I wanted to leave the institution”
- It is crucial to better involve self-advocates in deinstitutionalisation
- End segregation campaign
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