SA Govt to tighten legal guidelines on restraining folks with disability

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The controversial practices of restraining, sedating or restricting people with disabilities in order to control their behavior will only be allowed as a last resort under the proposed legislation, which will be presented to the state parliament early next year.

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It came after the ongoing Disability Royal Commission found that some people with disabilities faced unregulated restrictive practices, including physical and chemical restrictions, containment, segregation, and exclusion by disability service providers, health professionals, and schools.

The Commission on the Quality and Protection of the National Disability Insurance System defines restrictive practices as interventions that restrict a person’s right to freedom or movement to protect themselves or others from harm.

In the past, health professionals and disability services used restrictive practices as the first response for people who displayed behavior. However, it is now widely recognized that doing so can violate people’s human rights.

Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink said she would introduce the Restrictive Practices Amendment Act in Parliament early next year to provide “robust protection” for participants of all ages.

“The use of restrictive practices has rightly raised concerns by several royal commissions and disability rights activists. In South Australia (we) are now being aligned with national principles and set up in such a way that the rights of people with disabilities are brought to the fore and center in decision-making, ”she said.

“From January, the Department of Human Services will (will) consult people with disabilities, their carers and families to inform the parliament about the political direction before the introduction of the bill at the beginning of the new year and to support the development of the regulations. ”

The state government will spend $ 5.8 million over four years to set up a new regulatory system and licensing body for restrictive practices within the Department of Human Services that would oversee the regulations required by the proposed legislation.

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The proposed system is designed to allow two levels of restrictive practices.

Low-level restrictive practices include “environmental restrictions” such as locking cabinets approved by a licensed NDIS service provider.

Highly restrictive practices are more intrusive and include physical limitations and isolation. These practices could only be approved by a Department of Human Services approved officer.

“South Australia’s new system for authorizing restrictive practices will better protect the safety, well-being and dignity of some of the most vulnerable people in our community,” Lensink said.

The funds would also be used to train registered NDIS providers as well as provide regular on-site support to ensure providers are complying with the proposed new regulations.

The consultation on the bill begins this week and ends January 29th via the government’s YourSAy website.

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