Summary

8.1          The term ‘restrictive practices’ refers to the use of interventions that have the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person in order to protect them. Examples include lap belts, hand mitts, removing mobility aids such as walking frames and sedation of a person to control their behaviour.[1] Serious concerns have been expressed about inappropriate and under-regulated use of restrictive practices in a range of settings in Australia.

8.2          Current regulation of restrictive practices occurs mainly at a state and territory level. However, the Commonwealth, state and territory disability ministers endorsed the National Framework for Reducing and Eliminating the Use of Restrictive Practices in the Disability Service Sector (National Framework) in March 2014 to forge a consistent national approach.[2]

8.3          The National Framework is intended to reduce the use of restrictive practices, including by informing the development of the National Disability Insurance Scheme quality assurance and safeguards system (NDIS system).[3] In developing the NDIS system, the ALRC recommends that the Australian Government and the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) should take the National Decision-Making Principles into account to regulate restrictive practices in the context of the NDIS.[4]

8.4          The ALRC also recommends that the Australian Government and COAG adopt a similar, national approach to the regulation of restrictive practices in other relevant sectors such as aged care and health care.

[1]           Department of Health, Decision-Making Tool: Supporting a Restraint Free Environment in Residential Aged Care <www.health.gov.au>; Department of Health, Decision-Making Tool: Supporting a Restraint Free Environment in Community Aged Care <www.health.gov.au>.

[2]           Australian Government, National Framework for Reducing and Eliminating the Use of Restrictive Practices in the Disability Service Sector (2014).

[3]           Ibid.

[4]           See Ch 3.