School operations

Restraint and Seclusion

Definitions for restraint and seclusion

The following definitions are provided to support schools to understand and implement the Restraint and Seclusion Policy and Guidelines.

Behaviours of concern
Behaviours of concern are behaviours that can cause physical harm to the person or any other person.

Behaviour support plan (BSP)
A BSP is a document that addresses the challenging behaviour of a student, and outlines strategies to improve their behaviour. A BSP is based on an assessment of the function of the behaviour and primarily uses proactive and preventative strategies which are designed to help the student develop new skills. Restraint and seclusion cannot be included as interventions in a BSP in Victorian government schools.

Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA)
A BCBA is certified by the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board to provide behaviour analysis services. BCBAs are independent practitioners who work with a variety of people to teach new skills and/or change existing behaviours of concern. BCBAs supervise the work of others who implement behaviour-analytic interventions.

Board Certified Assistant Behaviour Analyst (BCaBA)
A BCaBA is certified by the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board to provide behaviour analysis services under the supervision of a BCBA. BCaBAs may supervise the work of Registered Behaviour Technicians.

Chemical restraint
Chemical restraint is the intentional use of medication, including pills, tablets, needles and liquids, primarily to control or subdue a student’s behaviour.

Child abuse
Child abuse can include physical abuse, sexual abuse, grooming, emotional or psychological harm, neglect, or family violence.

Child Safe Standards
Child safety encompasses matters related to protecting all children from child abuse, managing the risk of child abuse, providing support to a child at risk of child abuse, and responding to incidents or allegations of child abuse.

Corporal punishment
Corporal punishment is any action which inflicts, or is intended to inflict, physical pain or discomfort on the child as punishment.

Duty of care
Duty of care refers to school staff’s legal obligation to take reasonable steps to minimise the risk of reasonably foreseeable harm to students.

eduSafe Plus
eduSafe Plus is a streamlined system for the reporting of student and staff incidents, critical incidents, hazards and sick bay in schools.

Emergency refers to a sudden state of danger requiring immediate action to prevent or manage an imminent risk of serious harm to a person or persons, risk to life, health, property, or environment.

Holding is a practice that is without physical force, where the purpose is providing comfort or stability. Clinical holding is a planned practice of positioning a person that allows clinical staff to provide essential healthcare or personal care. Clinical holding is not to be used for students who are unwilling to cooperate or who refuse to consent to vaccinations on school premises.

Integrated Reports and Information System (IRIS)
The Department’s online incident management system where incidents are logged by the Security Services Unit, a 24/7 call centre for schools.

'Immediate' is happening right away, instantly, with no delay while ‘imminent’ is about to happen, occur, or take place very soon.

Incident Support and Operations Centre.

Immunisation means becoming immune to a disease because of receiving a vaccination and is important for the prevention and control of infectious diseases.

In the context of the Restraint and Seclusion Policy and Guidelines, 'justified' means having a good or legitimate reason.

Mechanical restraint
Mechanical restraint is the use of a device to prevent, restrict or subdue a person's movement for the primary purpose of controlling that person's behaviour. For more information about mechanical restraint, refer to the Mechanical restraint guidance (DOCX)External Link available on the Resources tab.

Physical restraint
Physical restraint is the use of physical force to prevent, restrict or subdue the movement of a student’s body or part of their body. Students are not free to move away when they are being physically restrained.

Problem/challenging/maladaptive behaviour
Behaviour that limits or impedes the learning of a student or another student’s academic, social, communicative, emotional, and adaptive behaviour skills. Refer to 'behaviours of concern' definition.

In the context of the Restraint and Seclusion Policy and Guidelines, proportionate means acknowledging and balancing difference in size or scale, such as the height and size of a staff member with the height and size of a student or acknowledging and balancing difference in type, such as degree of force used for a type of behaviour.

Protective physical interventions
Protective physical interventions are interventions involving physical contact that serve to block, deflect, or redirect a student's actions, or disengage from a student's grip, but from which a student can move freely away. For example, using your arm to block a student from hitting you or any other person, breakaway techniques to disengage from an inappropriate grip.

Protective physical interventions should not be confused with physical restraint.

In the context of the Restraint and Seclusion Policy and Guidelines, reasonable means:

  • proportionate to the risk of harm
  • discontinued once the risk of harm has dissipated
  • respectful of the student’s dignity.

Restorative practice
Restorative practice seeks to repair relationships that have been damaged, including those damaged through bullying. It does this by bringing about a sense of remorse and restorative action on the part of the offender and forgiveness by the victim.

Risk management plan (RMP)
An RMP assists the principal and school staff to define a range of actions to ensure staff can safely provide teaching and support to a student whose behaviours may pose a risk to the health, safety and wellbeing of staff, students and others at the school.

Safety plan
A safety plan addresses the changes actioned by staff within the school to promote physical and psychological safety. A safety plan addresses the environmental changes needed within the school (for example, removing scissors, staffing arrangements) and responses to behaviour (for example, how to keep the student, staff working with the student, and others in the school community safe, what to do and when to modify actions).

Seclusion refers to leaving a student alone in a room or area from which they are prevented from leaving by a barrier or another person. This includes situations where a door is locked as well as where the door is blocked by other objects or held closed by another person.

Seclusion rooms or areas
Rooms or areas designed, or used solely or primarily, for the purpose of seclusion are not permitted in Victorian government schools.

The Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) does not permit the construction, renovation, or alteration of spaces for the purpose of seclusion.

Self-injurious behaviour (SIB)
SIB is any behaviour, initiated by the individual, which directly results in physical harm to that individual.

Sensory rooms and areas
A sensory room or area is a controlled and intentionally created space that provides multi-sensory resources to support a student’s sensory needs to enable them to engage in learning.

Time-out is part of a planned response where a student is explicitly taught new behaviours (such as functional communication skills) to replace behaviours of concern. Students must have freedom to move to and from the area.

Vaccination means receiving a vaccine, either via an injection with a needle or receiving a vaccine orally to protect you from a specific disease.

Chapter providing definitions for key terms used in the guidance on restraint and seclusion

Reviewed 25 July 2023

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