Transformation of secure units into community services for adults and childen with disabilities

Project type: Ciljni raziskovalni program CRP 2023

Code: V5-2335

Beginning: 01.10.2023

End: 31.03.2025

Funding: Slovene Research and Innovation Agency


Ministry of Solidarity - Based Future

Collaborating organisations:

Social Protection Institute of the Republic of Slovenia

Institute of Criminology at the Faculty of Law Ljubljana


Coordinator: University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social work

Leader: doc. dr. Vera Grebenc


doc. dr. Vera Grebenc 

as. Juš Škraban

red. prof. dr. Vito Flaker

as. Monika Bohinec

izr. prof. dr. Mojca Urek


The aim of the project is to develop an integrated model for the transformation of secure units in social care institutions in Slovenia into community-based forms. The research strategy is based on a combination of different research approaches and research methods that will allow us to collect, analyse and synthesise a variety of data. The research activities are designed to respond step by step to the main objectives, i.e. in a first step, the research focuses on defining and clarifying the conceptual framework (e.g. rights, rights violations, recovery, safety, vulnerability, risk, needs, coercion, care). This is followed by a section in which the research captures the understanding of the legal framework that governs the area of secure units. As legislation normalises the use of coercion, it can also become a lever to reduce it. Through a comparative analysis, the coherence of internationally binding legal acts, Slovenian legislation and such regulations abroad is analysed. The main sub-themes in this section are the conditions for coercive measures, the role of guardianship in admission and discharge, and the accessibility of mental health representatives in practise, as users in secure units have significantly limited contractual power. The research will also include an analysis of users' needs, focusing on users who are accommodated in a secure unit at the time of the survey and those on the waiting list for admission to a secure unit. At the same time, we will analyse the security units as a form of work and assess the extent to which this form of working with users can successfully respond to their needs and how the form should be changed to better meet the actual needs of users. The analysis will be complemented by a comparative analysis of good practises from abroad, especially those carried out in the community, without coercion and detention and based on respect for human rights. The analysis of the functioning of secure units will also include an analysis of the working methods used by professionals in secure units in Slovenia. The results will make it possible to design alternative forms of action in the field of care for adults and children with disabilities, including safeguarding, and to formulate a proposal for the transformation of secure unis into community-based forms based on the needs of users, human rights and the results of the analysis of best practises.