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Senior Practitioner releases 2016-17 report on Restrictive Practices

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The Senior Practitioner has released the 2016-2017 report about the use of restrictive interventions in Victoria. The report highlights patterns in the use of restrictive practices and work being done to support improvements to behaviour support and the reduction and elimination of restrictive interventions for Victorians with disability.

NDS welcomes the finding that a previously-steady increase in the number of people subject to restrictive interventions in Victoria has stabilised. As in previous years, chemical restraint continues to be the most utilised restriction, with 95 per cent of reported restrictions being chemical in nature. There has been an increase in the number of people reported to be subject to seclusion, physical and mechanical restraint. The increase in the use of mechanical restraint comes after a period of decreased use resulting from the mechanical restraint reduction program in 2012-2013.

The report highlights the work being done by the Office of Professional Practice to review behaviour support plans. Findings show that there is a need for plans to clearly describe replacement behaviours and include clear processes for plan review and communication among those supporting the person. The office continues to deliver training to disability service providers on behaviour support planning, restrictive interventions and how to use the Restrictive Interventions Data System (RIDS).

The Senior Practitioner emphasises the need to focus on supporting providers to transition to the NDIS, including assisting new services entering the market to understand their responsibilities regarding the use of restrictive practices. This includes understanding the Disability Act and Victorian legislation regarding restrictive interventions. The compulsory treatment team also has an important role in advocating for people subject to compulsory treatment plans during the NDIS planning process. 

The report outlines a number of projects designed to promote evidence-based practice, including the RIDS cohort study and Mechanical Restraint Project. The Office also encourages service providers to use the data available to them through RIDS to improve practice. Current work in 2017-2019 includes a project to measure the impact of the roadmap for the reduction of restrictive practices and behaviours of concern. NDS is pleased to be involved in this project and thrilled that a number of Zero Tolerance resources have been incorporated into the training for support workers. 

The Senior Practitioner continues to work in partnership with other sectors to promote the rights of people with disability and the reduction and elimination of restrictive interventions. This includes the development of modules for General Practitioners and the development of resources to improve interactions between support workers and medical practitioners. The Senior Practitioner also continues work with the Department of Education and Training to promote the rights of children and young people through the development of policy guidance, procedures and resources for the reduction and elimination of restraint and seclusion in Victorian Government Schools.

An exciting development in 2016-2017 was the launch of the Restrictive Intervention Self-Evaluation Tool (RISET) – an online tool that workers and services can access to find out more about the use of restrictive practices in the context of Victorian legislation. The tool has been well-received and recently updated to incorporate new NDS Zero Tolerance films on Recognising Restrictive Practices – which can be found on this page under ‘Reducing and Eliminating Restrictive Practices’. The films are designed to start conversation about different types of restrictive practices. They were funded by the Victorian Government and developed with support from the Office of Professional Practice.

The coming year will see the Senior Practitioner continue to support people with disability and service providers during the transition to the NDIS, with a focus on ensuring resources are easily accessible. You can read the full report here and find out more about specific projects and resources by contacting the Office of Professional Practice. 

We are pleased to announce that the Zero Tolerance Recognising Restrictive Practices films will be launched in Melbourne at an event on 3 July 2018. Find out more here.

For more information about the Recognising Restrictive Practices films and other Zero Tolerance resources, please visit Zero Tolerance on the NDS website or contact Liz Collier at .

Contact information

Liz Collier, Project Lead - Zero Tolerance Initiative, 03 8341 4317,