Photo: Stock. Katalin’s name and identity have been changed.
Katalin is a young woman with a disability who lives in the Topház institution for people with mental disabilities in Hungary. She used to live at home with her mother but, because her mother had no support from the local authorities to look after her, eventually Katalin had to move to Topház.
Topház is a large institution for 220 men, women and children in a town outside Budapest. Our investigations there in 2017 revealed that the people live in appalling conditions and there is a high level of violence, coercion, serious neglect and many other human rights violations. You can read about all of this and our efforts to hold the Government accountable here.
We met Katalin in February 2017. We can’t show you her photograph and we have changed her name because we want to make sure she is safe and is not punished for asking us to help her. She arrived in Topház not too long before we met her. She told us that she would just be there a little while until her mother could look after her again. She was talkative and happy to spend time with us and tell us her story. When we saw Katalin again recently, she had been there for almost two years and still couldn’t leave.
Katalin and all people with disabilities have a right to live where they choose and to be given the support they need. Validity has taken Katalin’s case to the European Court of Human Rights but the Hungarian Government argues that Katalin needs to be in the institution and can’t live in the community. To prove that Katalin can indeed leave Topház if she has the right support, we need a psychologist to meet with her and convince the Court that her needs can be met in the community.
Katalin deserves a chance at an independent life outside the walls of this institution. We at Validity are doing everything we can to make this happen. Any donation you can make will help.