Peak advocacy group told Australians with disability the ‘days are numbered’ for restrictive practices

Posted 11 months ago by David McManus
The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People With Disability’s Research Report outlined a plan for eliminating restrictive practices. [Source: Shutterstock]
The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People With Disability’s Research Report outlined a plan for eliminating restrictive practices. [Source: Shutterstock]

Key points:

  • People With Disability Australian [PWDA] shared its approval of the Royal Commission’s Research Report
  • Restrictive practices are characterised as physical, chemical or environmental restraints and seclusion, used against the will of or through coercing people with disability
  • The eight-point plan provided in the Research Report highlighted the need for recognition of autonomy, previous injustice and the rights of people with disability


Peak advocacy group, People With Disability Australia [PWDA] shared its approval of the Disability Royal Commission Research Report, which announced the need to legally challenge restrictive practices in the care of people with disability.

The Report which was released this month shared its criteria for what constitutes restrictive practices in the disability support and care sector, describing the acts in question as perpetrated by legally, socially or professionally sanctioned parties. ‘Restrictive practices,’ as defined by the Disability Royal Commission, impede the freedom and independence of recipients of support and care through taking over aspects of their life against their wishes or impeding them from living their own lives.

The advocacy group shared its thoughts on eliminating the ‘discriminatory’ State or Territory-sanctioned behaviour and encouraged the Commission to make a respective recommendation in its final report.

PWDA President Nicole Lee said vulnerable people have endured violent practices such as seclusion and restraint for too long, which have served as traumatic human rights violations.

The Report, titled Restrictive Practices: A pathway to Elimination, acknowledges the past and present violence that people with disability face when subjected to restrictive practices and forced treatment, which aligns with the lived experience of people with disability. 

“The Report particularly highlights that restrictive practices create life-long trauma, a distrust in services, and have life-long impacts,” Ms Lee said.

The collective expressed that the eight-point plan was a step in the right direction, but PWDA hopes to see tangible action taken to ensure future safety. Two particular points of interest — the abolition of segregated, closed and involuntary treatment settings, along with acknowledgement of past wrongdoing — were cited by PWDA as urgent aspects for a National Redress Scheme to support survivors and people with disability, henceforth.

“Part of bringing deinstitutionalisation to reality is to unlock the doors on institutional settings, abolish forced treatment and stop separating us from our peers without disabilities — in schools, workplaces and the places we live and interact with the world around us,” Ms Lee concluded.

“While we are locked behind closed doors, separated and segregated, a culture of silence, control and abuse continues.”

The Report was overseen by an external board of disability advocacy and representation bodies, with the eight-point plan consisting of:

  • Making restrictive practices illegal
  • Changing attitudes and norms towards disability
  • Acknowledging and addressing historical and ongoing injustice associated with the use of restrictive practices
  • De-institutionalising and de-segregating all environments
  • Recognising the autonomy and leadership of people with disability
  • Using trauma-informed support approaches
  • Adequately resourcing independent living and full inclusion
  • Providing redress to rectify injustice

To read the Report in its entirety and to contact the Disability Royal Commission, please visit the Government Disability Commission website.