Department of Health

Recommendation 54

Towards the elimination of seclusion and restraint

What the Royal Commission said

The Royal Commission recommended:

  • the Victorian Government act immediately to end the use of seclusion and restraint in mental health and wellbeing services within 10 years.
  • the use of chemical restraint be regulated by Victoria's new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act.
  • the Chief Officer for Mental Health and Wellbeing develop and lead a strategy to reduce the use of seclusion and restraint.
  • the Mental Health Improvement Unit within Safer Care Victoria develop a range of programs and supports aligned with this strategy. These programs and supports are to be co-designed with mental health and wellbeing services and people with lived experience.

What are the opportunities?

The Royal Commission identified opportunities to improve the quality and safety of mental health and wellbeing services.

A key focus of this work is to reduce the use of seclusion and restraint.

What are we doing?

The Victorian Government is progressing a range of actions towards the elimination of seclusion and restraint, including:  

  • the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act, which will introduce regulation of chemical restraint and strengthen regulation of seclusion and bodily restraint  
  • establishment of the Mental Health Improvement Program in Safer Care Victoria to improve care in publicly funded mental health and wellbeing services, and the Safety for all in acute mental health inpatient units improvement initiative 
  • embedding the Safewards model within mental health, emergency and general health units in public hospitals
  • support from Safer Care Victoria to help services to reduce restrictive practices through workforce education and training, communities of practice and forums  
  • shifting performance targets to further reduce the use of seclusion 
  • developing a strategy in partnership with people with lived experience, service providers and workforce to guide action towards the elimination of seclusion and restraint, building on the significant work underway to reduce restrictive practices and improve the quality and safety of mental health and wellbeing service delivery across Victoria. 

The Department of Health has started engagement on the strategy towards elimination of seclusion and restraint. There are opportunities for people to participate in development of the strategy from August 2022 through to March 2023. 

Read more on the reform activity update page.

Reviewed 01 August 2022

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