Cantonal contact points and archives

The cantonal contact point and archives have a great deal of specific knowledge and experience with regard to compulsory social measures and placements that took place in Switzerland prior to 1981. They can therefore provide optimal support to those who were affected by such measures in coming to terms with their past and in searching for their files.

Cantonal contact points

The Federal Act on Compulsory Measures and Placements prior to 1981 obliges the cantons to run cantonal contact points. These have the following tasks:

  • advise those affected and their relatives and support them – in cooperation with the cantonal archives – in coming to terms with their past
  • support affected persons in preparing and submitting their applications for a solidarity contribution
  • providing, where necessary, immediate or longer-term assistance to persons who have been recognised as victims within the meaning of the Victim Support Act (VSA).

Affected persons and their relatives can, in principle, refer to a contact point of their choice (usually the contact point in their canton of residence). Counselling and support are free of charge.

Federal, cantonal, communal and private archives

There is a significant volume of records in the archives of the federal government, cantons and communes, as well as in private archives, which document, for posterity, compulsory social measures and placements prior to 1981. The CSMPA requires all archives to preserve any documents containing details of victims or persons affected by compulsory social measures or placements.

The archives must ensure that anyone with a legitimate interest is allowed access to their files and given a proper opportunity to read them in a simple and cost-free procedure. This applies primarily to the victims and persons affected or, if they are no longer alive, to their family members. Those involved in the academic inquiry may also be granted access to the files.

The CSMPA also requires the archives to support victims, persons affected and their family members with their search for records. These persons can contact the archives directly at any time. Alternatively, they can contact their local cantonal contact point, which will take over the support and coordinate the search if need be.

Legal basis


Last modification 29.08.2023

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