Looking back to look ahead – A decade of reducing restrictive interventions in Victoria

Mr Anna Love1
1Victorian Department Of Health And Human Services, Melbourne, Australia

The Victorian Office of the Chief Psychiatrist plays a vital role in reducing restrictive interventions within Victorian mental health services.  A report commissioned in 2018 highlighted the Victoria’s efforts and successes over the last decade (2006-16) in this area. The data analysis over the decade demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in the rates of seclusion in mental health services (mandatory reporting of bodily restraint was introduced in 2014, therefore, trend analysis was not possible). The report indicated that the leadership shown by the Chief Psychiatrist as a crucial component in the shift in culture, particularly through:

  • development of policies and guidelines in partnership with mental health service leaders, consumers and carers
  • resourcing capacity building initiatives for the mental health workforce.
  • shared governance with service leaders for data analysis of restrictive practice reports

The report provided validation on initiatives undertaken to date, as well as a key driver to guide and support future initiatives in Victoria.

The following areas will be discussed in relation the role of the Victorian Government in leading mental health services towards eliminating restrictive practices:

  • data trends in seclusion and restraint within Victoria over the (2006-16)
  • leadership approach to drive toward the elimination of restrictive practices
  • Impact of introduction of Safewards in Victorian inpatient units
  • work currently underway to prevent the use of restrictive interventions in mental health settings, including:
    • clinical practice framework and training program for Mental Health Intensive Care in Victoria
    • Chief Psychiatrist guideline on sexual safety
    • Safewards in Emergency departments and general wards


Anna commenced her career in Scotland in the early 80’s and moved to Australia in 1989.

Anna has worked in both Inpatient and Community settings as a clinician and as a manager and also as a Director Of Nursing both in Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol services.

During the early 90’s she was involved in the decommissioning of the North Eastern Metropolitan Psychiatric Services (NEMPS) which gave Anna her  first experience of managing service change and reform and has been an area of interest since that time.

Anna’s vision is to ensure we have a skilled Mental Health Nursing workforce for the future which is flexible, responsive and works collaboratively with consumers and carers encouraging self-determination and self-management of mental health and wellbeing.


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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