Call to abolish dangerous restraint methods

By Neil Puffett

| 13 January 2011

A blanket ban on the use of dangerous restraint techniques should be applied to all children's settings, an MP has said.

The use of controversial techniques such as nose distraction, the double-basket hold and the double-seated embrace are banned in secure training centres (STCs).

However, policy in other settings – children’s homes, residential schools, immigration removal centres and NHS hospitals – is more ambiguous.

Answering a question posed by Green MP Caroline Lucas, youth justice minister Crispin Blunt said secure children’s homes have been "strongly recommended" not to use the techniques.

He added that guidance has been issued to schools pointing out that the techniques present an "unacceptable risk" to children.

Blunt also pointed to the fact that regulations governing children’s homes and residential schools state that no measure of control, discipline or restraint that is excessive or unreasonable may be used.

"Any use of the restraint techniques which have been banned in secure training centres are likely to be in breach of regulation," he said.

There is no national list of banned or permitted restraint techniques in hospitals, but any restraint used should not be unlawful or excessive, he added.

Lucas told CYP Now it is time for the techniques to be clearly banned in all settings.

"There can be no justification for ministers prohibiting certain forms of restraint in one setting while leaving it to the discretion of managers in other settings.

"Restraint that deliberately causes pain, restricts a child’s breathing or which systematically humiliates and degrades children should be banned in all settings."

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