The case of a woman locked up by her family for 18 years highlights the widespread stigma attached to people with mental illness and physical disabilities in rural Italy.
"But this measure is often taken with the mentally ill, also because there is little access to health care in the most isolated areas," according to the prosecutor in the case.
Investigators are also trying to find out why authorities were not alerted earlier. It's reported that the woman has been receiving a monthly disability check since the late 1980s, and that health officials should have been paying her ocassional visits.
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