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Danish Center for Welfare Studies

Historisk udredning vedrørende børn, unge og voksne anbragt i særforsorgens institutioner 1933-1980

Author: Klaus Petersen, Mette Seidelin, Sarah Smed, Poul Duedahl & Annemarie Borregaard
Published: Danmarks Forsorgsmuseum (del af Svendborg Museum) 2022. (Udredningen er bestilt og finansieret af Social- og Ældreministeriet)

In 1933, the Special Care System (“Særforsorgen”) was established as care provider and care administrator for six groups of people with disabilities: “the blind”, “the deaf”, “the epileptic”, people with speech disorder, “crippled” and “mentally retarded” (terms from 1933). The system was closed in 1980.

In March 2022, a historical investigation on the Special Care System in the time from 1933 to 1980, ordered by the Danish government, was published. After two years of research, the conclusion was clear: the research group documents a large number of examples of abuse and neglect. Eg. Violence, sexual assault, unnecessary use of force such as fixation and confinement. This was especially the case for people with intellectual disabilities.

The research shows that despite the fact that the state took over the responsibility of the Special Care System, no systematic control was carried out by the state. Testimonies given in interviews state, that the placement in institutions has had negative consequences for the lives of the institutionalised both during and after the placement.

The conclusion is based on a big amount of historical documents in the Danish National Archive and interviews with a large number of former institutionalised, relatives and staff members from institutions.


Access the report here.