New legislation on use of restrictive practices introduced to ACT

Teachers and support staff in the ACT should be aware of new legislation which now affects their work.

Senior Practitioner Legislation 2018 relates to the use of restraints or seclusion in schools, disability services and out of home care services.

In Victoria the Senior Practitioner Disability has had oversight of restrictive practice in schools for three years, but it is new to the ACT. In NSW similar legislation does not exist.

ACT Government Community Services Senior Practitioner Mandy Donley said the legislation has been developed over five years and is not related to the 2015 case of a Canberra school using a cage in a classroom to restrain an autistic boy.

“The idea is that this legislation will reduce staff injuries and staff stress. It improves everyone’s experience in schools,” Donley said.

Donley has provided a number of information sessions, including one for ACT IEU staff (above) and members and at the Teacher Quality Institute (TQI).

She said the most important part of the legislation is that all incidences of restrictive practices must be reported to the senior practitioner.

“We can use this data to provide more resources to schools that need it. This could be training for staff, support from allied health professionals to support the student and family and assess the function of the behaviour and work out what would reduce it.”

Donley said reducing the behaviour was a long process and required an holistic approach from the school.

Fact sheets and other support materials are available at