Bucharest, 7 August 2021. The Centre for Legal Resources (CLR) was made aware that on 1st August 2021, two elderly people with disabilities, institutionalized in the residential Centre of Calinești, Prahova County, were heavily beaten and humiliated by an employee of the Centre. At the time of the offence, at least 30 other residents and another employee, who attempted to intervene, but without success, were present. Following the incident — one of the two elderly people with disabilities died.
UPDATE August 9: Prahova County Council demands DGASPC Prahova firm and urgent measures following the tragedy in Călinești. Details here.
Between the incident and the death that occurred 5 days after being beaten, the following happened:
On 3rd August, CLR made an unannounced visit to the residents of Calinești and the management of the centre did not present the incident in C Pavilion, nor the maltreated residents;
On 6th August, CLR was informed about the fatal incident – the death of a resident (Mr M.N);
During the same evening, CLR spoke to the brother of the deceased (Mr M.M.), the other victim of violence, who reported the incidents with fear of the consequences.
Briefly, at the moment, after discussions with the brother of the deceased person, other residents and employees, the following emerged, which will be investigated in the context of the criminal investigation that has already begun:
At around 23:00, on the evening of 1st August, an employee took out around 30 residents on the plateau in front of the C Pavilion, in order to teach them a lesson. He started to hit hard the two 62-year-old residents with disabilities. The colleague who was on the same shift as him tried to stop him without success. One hour later, around midnight, a medical nurse is called. She told us that the only information she received was that there had been an altercation between the two brothers;
No one had called a doctor from Sunday, 1st August until Wednesday, 4th August;
On Wednesday, 4th August, early in the morning, the doctor of the centre (who had returned from holidays) received information from the centre’s management that he must consult a resident of C Pavilion. Immediately after consulting Mr M.N, the doctor asked for an ambulance from the Emergency room of the hospital in Ploiești and several medical investigations. The resident is consulted in the County Hospital until 23:00, when he is brought back to Calinești. Naked, without the clothes with which he was sent in the morning, at 11:00.
On Thursday 5th August, a few hours after being released from the hospital, Mr M. N. dies in the residential centre. The doctor of the centre, who was called to establish the death, requested that a police crew and the forensic service would come to establish the death.
From the visit of the CLR in the Centre in Calinești, it was noted that people with disabilities, institutionalised on the basis of the decision of the ‘Commission establishing the degree of disability’ under the responsibility of the Prahova County Council, did not have access to the telephone or email to ask for help and report any beatings, humiliation and emotional abuse. In addition, the employees, who were obliged to urgently report the incident, did not call the 112 service.
More info about the Centre for Recuperation, Neuropsychiatric Rehabilitation for Adults with Disabilities Calinești (CRRNPAH Calinești):
The Centre in Calinești is composed of four pavilions and provides services to around 120 residents. According to the legal provisions, the centre, which also has legal personality, should have been restructured and reorganised since 2018, which has not yet taken place.
The centre was expected to undergo a restructuring process, which had also foreseen building 2 sheltered homes/small group homes for 20 people and 1 day centre that were supposed to be completed by 31 December 2021 through the use of the European Regional Development Funds. At the moment, no construction has started, the designated land is not marked and indicated according to the standards required by the European funds and there is no information on the state of the project (https://2plus1calinesti.ro/despre-proiect). These sheltered homes/small group homes do not correspond to Romania’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention provides that independent living in the community can only take place outside residential institutions of all kinds. European and national funds must therefore be used to build community services, individual social housing with adequate equipment and personal assistants. European funds have been blocked since 2018 on this project which has not even started and which, moreover, would lead to building micro-institutions with the same medical staff and social assistance, therefore perpetuating the institutional culture, which is not in line with the requirements of the Convention.
CLR contacted the relatives of the victims and representatives of the competent authorities, the next step meaning to send the information gathered to the Public Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Prahova Tribunal.
We request that Prahova County Council and the National Authority for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Children and Adoptions (ANDPDCA) to speed up the adoption of measures to prevent abuse and ensure services in the community. CLR also asks the Ministry of European Funds and the European Commission to put in place measures and conditionality to ensure that European and national funds are not used to maintain and perpetuate the abuse and violation of the human rights of persons with disabilities.