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Our Position Paper: A Case For Change

Jackie Crowe, a Commissioner at the National Mental Health Commission released our position paper on seclusion, restraint and restrictive practices in mental health at the 10th National Seclusion and Restraint Forum in Melbourne on 29th May 2015. 

The position paper has been informed by an international literature review, surveys and focus groups with people who have a lived experience of seclusion and restraint.  This work was undertaken by the University of Melbourne, and in partnership with the Mental Health Commission of Canada and key Australian partners, including the Safety and Quality Partnerships Subcommittee, Australian Human Rights Commission, and interested state mental health commissions. In addition, the Core Reference Group provided expert advice to the Commission and the project team, and oversaw the project team’s work.

The Commission urges all Australian governments to support the commitment made in 2005 to reduce and where possible to eliminate the use of seclusion and restraint by giving priority to achieving:

  • jurisdictional agreement on definitions for seclusion, physical restraint, mechanical restraint and chemical restraint that is then reflected in jurisdictional legislation
  • targets and reporting frameworks that ensure that we have consistent, national data that give an accurate and meaningful account of what’s really going on
  • a national approach to the regulation of seclusion and restraint that includes:
    • standards and guidelines to support national consistency in approach to reducing the use of seclusion and restraint
    • inclusion of a standard specifically addressing restrictive interventions in the next revision of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards
    • national monitoring and reporting on seclusion and restraint across jurisdictions and services.


Read the media release announcing the position statement.


View the documents:

"There is a lack of evidence internationally to support seclusion and restraint in mental health services. There is strong agreement that it is a human rights issue, that it has no therapeutic value, that it has resulted in emotional and physical harm, and that it can be a sign of a system under stress."

Commissioner Jackie Crowe
National Mental Health Commission

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