Right to a Safe Living Environment

State and federal law recognize that a mental health provider has an affirmative duty to promote a safe living environment free from harassment, abuse or harm.

Free from Harm
Patients of state-operated facilities have a right to live in reasonable safety and to receive adequate health care, along with habilitation to ensure their safety and freedom from unreasonable restraint, prevent regression, and facilitate their ability to exercise their liberty interests.

Suicide Prevention
In order to protect patients from harm, hospitals have a duty to adequately supervise patients known to be suicidal. Suicidal behavior in mental health facilities represents a major threat to the lives and well being of the patients.

Privacy, Safety and No Abuse or Harassment
All hospitals including state-operated facilities, participate in the federal Medicaid or Medicare programs must respect the patients right’s to: (1) personal privacy; (2) receive care in a safe setting and (3) be free from all forms of abuse and harassment.

Sexual Assaults
Every patient has the right to a safe environment. A safe environment includes treatment that is free of sexual assault. State inpatient psychiatric treatment hospitals have a duty to keep patients safe and each individual physician, psychologist, nurse and mental health technician has a duty to intervene and attempt to stop sexual assaults and the use of excessive force.

In 2005, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities affirmed the duty of the Connecticut Valley Hospital to intervene to protect a male patient being sexually abused by another patient. (CHRO No. 0330286, John Doe v. State of CT)