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Psychiatric staff suspended after patients report beatings

Prosecutor's office shutters center, investigating

10 February, 17:41
Psychiatric staff suspended after patients report beatings (ANSA) - Vercelli, February 10 - All the staff of the Domus Alba therapeutic community in the northern Italian town of Alice Castello have been suspended from their positions on charges of beating patients. The prosecutor's office decided to close the center as a precautionary measure after reports were lodged by some of the patients' parents. Information on the case is being kept confidential.

Six minors between the ages of 11 and 17 suffering from behavioral problems were undergoing rehabilitation at the center. One or more were reportedly beaten and possible sexual abuse at the hands of staff members may also be investigated.

The center, managed by the Udine-based Sereni Orizzonti group, has been closed and the six youths transferred to other centers run by the public health authority in the area. The mayor of the town, who is also the head of the area's psychiatric department of the local health authority, Vittorio Petrino, said that he had never received any reports of mistreatment within the facilities.