Physical restraint is the use of physical force to prevent, restrict or subdue movement of a person’s body or part of their body for the primary purpose of the behavioural control of a person with a disability. Physical restraint does not include physical guidance or physical assistance.
The Senior Practitioner Physical Restraint Direction Paper (the direction paper) applies to all disability service providers defined in the Disability Act 2006 when a disability service is provided to a person, including children and young people.
The Office of the Senior Practitioner (the Office) consulted broadly with the disability sector and commissioned work by leading academics in the field to develop the direction paper, which consists of three main components:
- Prohibiting specific types of physical restraints
- Prohibiting other types of physical restraints except as provided for under the direction
- Specifying the process for obtaining the Senior Practitioner’s approval for using physical restraint.
The obligation to report the use of physical restraint on restrictive intervention data system RIDS came into force on 1 July 2011.
The prohibition on using physical restraint except as permitted under the direction will come into force on 1 January 2012.
The direction paper strengthens the Office’s role in protecting the rights of people with disabilities subject to restrictive interventions and compulsory treatment, as well as providing a foundation for minimising risk to disability support professionals.