From Seclusion to Inclusion

Ms Moira Buchholtz1,2, Ms Rachel Young2, Ms Mandy  Donley3
1OPP – Senior Practitioner Disability, Melbourne, Australia, 2DET – Principal Practice Leader Education, Melbourne, Australia, 3Senior Practitioner ACT, Canberra, Australia

Schools are a microcosm of their community and children and young people attending Victorian government schools experience the same challenges as those in the larger community, including mental health concerns. Unfortunately this can often initally present as challenging behaviour or behaviours of concern.

Quality education includes protection of, and respect for, children and young person’s human rights. At times, some students may behave in a way that could cause physical harm or danger to themselves or others which at times results in restraint or seclusion.

This paper will discuss the use of a Human Rights Framework within the Department of Education, Victoria, to reduce practices of restraint and or seclusion.

The paper will also present findings and argue for continued systematic cultural change to promote and protect the rights of students who engage in behaviours of concern and who are at risk of experiencing restraint or seclusion episodes.


Moira is a Registered Nurse with over 20 years experience in a range of fields inlcuding forensic pyschiatry and the Office of Professional Practice Compulsory Treatment Team.

Rachel has worked senior policy officer, project manager and administrator in not-for-profit organisations, government and social welfare agencies over several decades. Most recently she has led the implementing the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data for Students with Disabilities (the NCCD) in Victorian government schools.

Mandy Donley is a Credentialed Mental Health Nurse with over 30 years of experience in mental health including forensic psychiatry and a short time working in a Transylvanian asylum. Currently Mandy is the Senior Practitioner ACT coordinating the restraint and seclusion reduction strategy across ACT services.


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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