National Research Programme "Welfare and Coercion" (NRP 76) will explore the impact of welfare and coercion in past, present and future.

In the years before 1981, as part of the state welfare and guardianship system, Swiss authorities carried out measures against adults and minors publicly referred to as
Fürsorgerische Zwangsmassnahmen und Fremdplatzierungen (compulsory social measures and placements (CSMP)) according to cantonal practices and with practically non-existent procedural rights. The measures repeatedly led to interference in the lives of the persons affected. Today the Federal Council and Parliament recognises the suffering caused to the victims and their families through the disregard of their fundamental rights.

To investigate compulsory social measures and placements in a broad context, including those arranged by private individuals, the Federal Council commissioned the Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF on 22 February 2017 to conduct the National Research Programme "Welfare and Coercion – Past, Present and Future" (NRP 76).

NRP 76 tackles the legal and social dimensions of welfare and coercion in Switzerland from a historical perspective and the perspective of the relevance of these measures to the present and the future.

NRP 76 will pursue the following goals:

  1. Analysing features, mechanisms and modes of action in Swiss welfare policy and practices;
  2. Identifying possible causes for welfare practices that either damage or restore personal integrity, and considering the extent to which social order and individual rights may be reconciled;
  3. Investigating the effects of welfare practices on the persons affected.

The research projects will be realised between 2018 and 2023. The overall funding is CHF 18 million.

The NRP will complement the work of the Independent Expert Commission (UEK), set up by the Federal Council in 2014, which focused on the history of administrative detention.

The NRP ensures that the research results reach the target groups. In order to make the required links to past, present and future, knowledge transfer themes for NRP 76 will take account of current discourses in politics, practice and the public. A detailed strategy document is available online.