Support measures

Self-help support (self-help projects)

The Federal Act on Compulsory Social Measures and Placements prior to 1981 (CSMPA) provides that the Federal Office of Justice may facilitate self-help projects of organisations for victims or affected persons. Financial assistance may be granted for this purpose.

Self-help projects are characterised by the fact that they create offers or provide assistance – with the involvement of victims or those affected – that aim to enable self-help among victims and those affected (self-help support). They should be realised within a certain time frame and directly serve the interests of as many victims and affected persons as possible.

The factsheet below contains a summary of the requirements and further useful information on how to set up one of these projects.

If you are interested in setting up a self-help project, we recommend contacting the Federal Office of Justice (see contact column) to answer any initial questions and, where necessary, arrange an appointment for a preliminary meeting. The documents required for submitting an application for financial assistance for a self-help project can be found at the following links: (These documents are not available in English)

In addition to the CSMPA, the following legislation is relevant for self-help projects: (These documents are not available in English)

Opportunities for victims and affected persons to share information and experiences

The Federal Office of Justice also organises and promotes the sharing of information and experiences among victims and others who were affected by compulsory social measures and placements. This is intended to help them better develop and utilise their personal resources.

This mandate is currently implemented within the framework of "storytelling bistros", which are organised and supported by the association "Austausch-Échange" and co-financed by the Federal Office of Justice.

Tracing service

When compulsory social measures and placements were ordered and implemented, many of the people concerned were forcibly removed from their families and placed in homes or with foster or host families, or made to work in factories or on farms. Often children were separated from their siblings, some of whom have not been reunited to this day. Some children who were the subject of "compulsory adoption" (i.e. the forced removal of children from their parents and their release for adoption) are still trying to trace their biological mothers, and these mothers are still searching for their children. There are therefore still cases in which victims and other persons affected are trying to trace their family members.

In the case of (forced) adoptions, special information and counselling centres are available in each canton to provide information on birth parents and their direct descendants or on adopted children:

Legal basis

Last modification 09.08.2022

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Federal Office of Justice
CSMP Unit
Bundesrain 20
CH-3003 Bern
T +41 58 462 42 84
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https://www.rhf.admin.ch/content/bj/en/home/gesellschaft/fszm/foerdermassnahmen.html