Reducing restrictive interventions in Victorian public mental health services – the development of a self assessment tool for mental health services

Ms Kate Thwaites1, Ms Reanna Clark1
1Office Of The Chief Mental Health Nurse, Melbourne, Australia

The Victorian Government is committed to reducing – and where possible eliminating – the use of restrictive practices. . The Chief Psychiatrist has a statutory role under the Mental Health Act 2014 to promote the rights of persons receiving mental health services.
Recent national reports arising from investigations into tragic and serious incidents in public mental health services highlight a need for greater governance and improved clinical leadership to ensure the rights of consumers are upheld and that services are safe for both consumers and staff.
The release of these reports was an opportune time for the Victorian Office of the Chief Mental Health Nurse to reflect on current practices around restrictive interventions in public mental health services, and how we are tracking in the commitment to reduce such practices.
The self assessment tool has been developed to assist mental health services to evaluate how they perform against recommendations arising from recent reports. It can be used across age groups and across service settings.

Next Steps…
It is anticipated that this tool will be made available online for services to access on the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist web site. Further to our clinical leadership role with restrictive intervention benchmarking and governance led by the Office of the Chief Mental Health Nurse within the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist services will be asked to use the tool to review and reflect on current practice and clinical governance within their own services.


Reanna is a Project Officer in the Victorian Office of the Chief Psychiatrist and Office of the Chief Mental Health Nurse. Her work supports the oversight of restrictive interventions under the statutory obligations of the Victorian Chief Psychiatrist, and the implementation of recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

Reanna has a background in psychological research, the criminal justice system, and advocacy.

Kate Thwaites is a mental health nurse working as a clinical advisor in the Victorian Office of the Chief Psychiatrist & Office of the Chief Mental Health Nurse. This work encompasses her role in nursing leadership, lived experience co-design and projects with the Victorian Office of the Chief Mental Health Nurse.
Kate’s vision is a compassionate health care system which provides evidence based care, nurtures, values and develops clinical staff.
Kate has worked across many public health care services including general medicine, surgical and mental health units.


TERP focuses on identifying, avoiding and reducing harm across all environments in which the care of people with mental ill health is provided. TERP inforces Australia’s commitment to reduce the use of, and eliminate restrictive practices as a priority for action. Each jurisdiction, in conjunction with the Safety and Quality Partnership Standing Committee and the Commonwealth Government, works towards this vision by holding a series of forums providing an opportunity to learn and grow from local and national initiatives to eliminate restrictive practices and create a dialogue for future care.

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