Restrictive practices: A pathway to elimination

The Disability Royal Commission published a damning report calling for all governments to phase out restrictive practices urgently. 

Abigail gave notice of the following motion: 

(1) That this House notes the publication of the report entitled “Restrictive practices: A pathway to elimination” by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability published July 2023, which found that:

(a) the use of restrictive practices is inconsistent with international human rights obligations for the treatment of people with disability,

(b) restrictive practices strip people with disability of dignity,

(c) restrictive practices include chemical, mechanical, physical and environmental restraint and seclusion, guardianship, forced sterilisation, menstrual suppression and anti-libidinal medication, financial management, involuntary mental health treatment, and other nonconsensual or coercive interventions said to be undertaken for protective behavioural or medical reasons,

(d) there is overwhelming evidence of lived experiences of restricted practices as physically painful, psychologically harmful, violating, tortuous, traumatic, cruel, disempowering, dehumanising, and resulting in seclusion and extreme distress which was ignored by people supporting them,

(e) restrictive practices often present in an ecological system of violence, coercion and control including throughout relationships, institutions and social structures, and

(f) several current national frameworks or principles for reducing and or eliminating restrictive practices emphasise investment in evidence-based positive behaviour support (PBS), including:

(i) the “No Force First Project” in England, which focuses on enabling choice, selfdetermination and personhood,

(ii) the “Six Core Strategies to Reduce Seclusion and Restraint Use” in the USA, which follows a trauma-informed approach and was adapted as part of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses “Safe in Care, Safe at Work Toolkit” in 2019 in a mental health context,

(iii) the “Safewards” clinical model in England, which was created to manage conflict in mental health settings, and has been implemented in several jurisdictions across the
world including Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

(2) That this House notes the eight recommendations from the report:

(a) that governments impose an immediate legal prohibition on restrictive practices,

(b) that governments invest in strategies to change social attitudes and norms related to people with disability,

(c) that governments acknowledge and address historical and ongoing injustice associated with the use of restricted practices,

(d) that governments commit to full deinstitutionalisation and desegregation of the living environments of people with disability, and address segregation in schools, ADEs, group homes, day centres and mental health facilities,

(e) that governments respect and protect the autonomy of people with disability,

(f) that governments utilise trauma-informed support approaches,

(g) that governments adequately resource independent living and full inclusion, as well as economic, social and cultural rights, and

(h) that governments provide redress for victim-survivors as we eliminate restrictive practices.

(3) That this House calls on the Government to support the eight recommendations from the Royal Commission’s report, and commit to implementing them at a state level.

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