Department of Health

Developing a strategy towards elimination of seclusion and restraint

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The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System recommended the Victorian Government work towards eliminating seclusion and restraint in mental health and wellbeing service delivery by 2031.

To support this goal, the Royal Commission recommended the Chief Officer for Mental Health and Wellbeing develop and lead a strategy which aims to reduce the use of seclusion and restraint (Recommendation 54.3).

The strategy will drive change in three key areas:

  1. improve accountability for, and transparency of, the use of restrictive interventions
  2. lead and support changes in workforce practice, and
  3. ensure the voice of consumers informs planning and implementation.

The strategy will guide future actions towards the elimination of seclusion and restraint. It will build on the significant work underway to reduce restrictive interventions and improve the quality and safety of mental health and wellbeing service delivery across Victoria.

Engagement on the strategy

Engagement with the mental health sector and the community is critical to the development of the strategy.

We encourage participation by people who have experienced, felt at risk of experiencing, witnessed, administered or influenced decisions about restrictive interventions. This includes consumers, carers, families and supporters, service providers, and the workforce (including clinical and non-clinical staff).

The Department has committed to:

  • ensuring that all perspectives have a voice in this reform
  • an approach of ‘safety for all’ in the design and delivery of the strategy
  • providing a range of opportunities for people to participate in development of the strategy on their own terms. Opportunities are outlined in the engagement calendar below.

Principles for communication and engagement

The following principles will underpin communication and engagement activities throughout development of the strategy:

  • adjust for power imbalances: we commit to centring the experiences of people who have been secluded and/or restrained
  • humanity: we engage with compassion and sensitivity and treat others how we would like to be treated
  • purposeful: we know why and who we are engaging
  • prepared: we take history and experiences into account, and we engage early
  • genuine: we are true to our word and put people and communities first
  • inclusive: we provide meaningful opportunities and support to enable participation to hear from diverse perspectives
  • communicate: we provide regular updates and complete the feedback loop
  • human rights: we apply a human rights lens across all communication and engagement moments
  • cultural safety: we create culturally safe spaces for people to engage on their own terms
  • acknowledge trauma: we premise all engagement on recognition of trauma, including of people who have experienced, witnessed and administered restrictive interventions
  • learn from the past: we acknowledge that we are building on a significant program of work to reduce restrictive interventions in Victoria, and commit to harnessing this knowledge and experience.

Engagement calendar

Engagement opportunity Timeline
An External Working Group meets monthly to develop specific elements of the strategy using co-design principles. The group was recruited via an Expression of Interest process (closed September 2022) and consists of 18 members who have experience with seclusion and restraint, and who bring a range of lived and living experience, workforce and policy perspectives. Commenced in the last quarter of 2022
Targeted engagement with system leaders (including sector and industrial peaks) and service leaders, who will be critical to the design and implementation of the strategy. October 2022 onwards
Consumers have been invited to share their perspectives in a 1:1 or group interviews, conducted by the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC) with support from the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO).
Families, carers, supporters and kin have also been invited to provide their insights through consultation groups conducted by Tandem.
April – June 2023
Anyone can make a submission through Engage VictoriaExternal Link . All Victorians are invited to submit their thoughts on targeted questions about ways to eliminate seclusion and restraint 8 June 2023 – 21 July 2023
Focus groups will be brought together to explore, test and validate ideas and recommendations for specific settings and/or cohorts, or to obtain particular perspectives or expertise. June – July 2023

Reviewed 23 June 2023

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