Restrictive Practices – QAI Submission to the DRC

QAI has provided a submission to the Disability Royal Commission in response to the Issues Paper on the use of Restrictive Practices. QAI told the Commission that the use of Restrictive Practices infringes the fundamental human rights of people with disability. Despite being cited as necessary to ensure safety, Restrictive Practices are often the result of prejudicial and discriminatory attitudes towards people with disability. Poor quality service provision that stems from a lack of understanding of the person and the perceived ‘behaviour of concern’ can lead to the use of Restrictive Practices in situations where less restrictive alternatives are available, yet not pursued. QAI highlighted the lack of evidence showing the efficacy of Restrictive Practices in addressing ‘behaviours of concern’ as well as the significant harm caused through their continued use. The fragmented approach to reporting and regulation was also raised as a key concern.


Here is an extract from the submission:


The perceived ‘behaviour of concern’ must be seen within its wider context. That is, a community that has historically devalued people with disability, where unconscious bias is entrenched into the minds of those supporting people with disability and where motives of personal gain through risk adversity are rife. It must also be viewed as the social construct that it is. What someone considers to be a ‘challenging behaviour’ may differ from one person to the next, based upon their understanding of the individual concerned.


QAI called for change in the way that people with disability are viewed and subsequently treated. People with disability must be supported to exercise control over their lives through the model of supported decision-making, including in decision-making regarding the use of Restrictive Practices. Increased safeguards and oversight must also be implemented through legislative reform.