Tue, 18 June


Meeting Room 6, The Griffin Centre

'Safewards' - reducing risk of harm AND seclusion and restraint in Mental Health

This is our second Quarterly Forum for the year. All of our Quarterly Forums leave ample time for an extended Q&A session following the main presentations.

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'Safewards' - reducing risk of harm AND seclusion and restraint in Mental Health

Time & Location

18 June 2019, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Meeting Room 6, The Griffin Centre, 20 Genge Street, Canberra ACT, Australia

About the Event

'Safewards' - reducing risk of harm in mental health settings AND reducing or eliminating seclusion and restraint

This is our second Quarterly Forum for the year. All of our Quarterly Forums leave ample time for an extended Q&A session following the main presentations.

Safewards is an evidence-based clinical model developed in the United Kingdom and adopted in Victoria to promote safer, less coercive practices in mental health care (such as seclusion and restraint) and to reduce incidents of conflict involving consumers and staff. It is increasingly evident that the most significant impact of Safewards has been its positive contribution to a change in culture promoting the rights and dignity of staff and consumers.

The implementation of Safewards in Victoria is the most substantial and systematic in the world to date. This forum will be the first opportunity in the ACT for consumers, carers, and agencies to hear from Victorian Safewards Practice Leaders who will share their learnings, including benefits and challenges, from the successful implementation across their State.

In 2016, following a successfully evaluated trial, the Victorian government supported the extension of Safewards to all public mental health services. They have also committed to an expansion to other areas of health, most significantly the Emergency Department and acute medical and surgery units.

The Victorian evaluation found Safewards was associated with significantly reduced seclusion events and improvement was especially evident in adult and youth wards. Safewards had a highly favourable impact in terms of staff and consumer perceptions of increased safety and positive inpatient environments.

In late 2018, the Public Advocate met with Minister Shane Rattenbury to discuss the potential for the implementation of Safewards as a strategy to reduce the rates of seclusion, restraint and occupational violence in ACT Mental Health inpatient facilities. Safewards was consolidated by the Minister as part of ACT Health’s new Towards a Safer Culture (TASC) initiative, with discussion about the first trial site currently on the table.


Associate Professor Bridget Hamilton

Associate Professor Bridget Hamilton is the Director of the Centre for Psychiatric Nursing and is currently leading the evaluation of Safewards in Victoria. She leads a team of clinical nurse academics and consumer academics to build up the skills and contribution of mental health nurses in Victoria, for the benefit of people receiving mental healthcare. Bridget Hamilton is a registered mental health nurse with a 30 year career working as a clinician, manager, educator and researcher in public sector services.

She highly values partnering with consumers in everyday work, research and teaching. She teaches solutions-focused interventions; her research spans ethnographic fieldwork in healthcare settings, knowledge transfer for seclusion reduction, evaluations of recovery orientation, and narratives of Strengths approaches.

For more information about Safewards Victoria:


Patrice Murray and Leanne Done

Patrice Murray and Leanne Done are senior project officers in the newly formed Towards a Safer Culture (TASC) team, based at The Canberra Hospital (TCH). Both Patrice and Leanne have extensive experience as practitioners in inpatient mental health settings and have been advocates for consumer and carer participation in the implementation of Safewards in the ACT.

TASC is committed to the vision of an ACT public health system where staff and others are protected from harm in the workplace and feel safe at all times. Led by Chief Nurse, Hamish Jeffrey, the TASC team are currently meeting with community and organisations to introduce TASC, and to also inform the community of their plans to implement the Safewards model in the ACT as part of that larger model.

Consumer academic team

Indigo Daya and Hamilton Kennedy.

In attendance

Dr. Elizabeth Moore, Coordinator-General for the Office of Mental Health, and Jodie Griffiths-Cook, ACT Public Advocate and Children & Young People Commissioner will also attend and participate.

Carers ACT, ACT Mental Health Consumer Network, Mental Health Community Coalition, Public Advocate And Children & Young People Commissioner's Office ACT, Organiser of 'Safewards' - reducing risk of harm AND seclusion and restraint in MH

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