Child Protection Guidance 2021

Part 4: Specific support needs and concerns 156 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 4.155 Use of restraint carries risks and can be extremely damaging to children and young people. It may, however, be the only realistic response in some situations and as a last resort (for example, to prevent a child running into a busy road or to prevent a violent act against another person). Adults should do everything they can to understand the child before using restraint, especially if the child is upset or frightened. Restraint should never hurt a child, and it should only ever happen for the shortest time possible. Restraint should never be used as punishment, or as a way to make someone ‘behave’. 4.156 Additional vulnerabilities. Children with communication difficulties, learning disabilities, autistic spectrum conditions and mental health difficulties are especially vulnerable to inappropriate use of restraint in education, health and social care settings. Wherever possible use of restraint should be avoided. Agency protocols must support proactive, preventative, non-restrictive responses to distressed and challenging behaviour. This begins with forming an understanding of the needs behind the behaviours, and forming strategies with each individual child to protect their safety and rights, and those of others involved. 4.157 The Health and Social Care Standards (2017). Children receiving services through the NHS, as well as services registered with the Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland, should be able to expect that while they will be kept safe and protected from avoidable harm, any intervention that he/she experiences is safe and effective. This requires appropriate staff training and development, supervision and support. 4.158 Recording. Any use of restraint and/or seclusion (variously defined in Scotland but by which is meant shutting a child somewhere alone and not allowing them to leave), should also be recorded as one critical way of ensuring that practice is rights-compliant and appropriately monitored and scrutinised. 4.159 The physical and psychological impact of restraint must be considered. Physical restraint provokes strong feelings and children may be left physically or emotionally hurt. Even if a child has not directly experienced restraint, they may be scared that it will happen in future or have been upset by seeing others restrained. 4.160 To avoid a breach of a child’s rights , any use of restraint must be lawful, necessary and proportionate. The key question for everyone involved with children and young people who express distressed behaviour should be: “What is in the best interests of the child and/or those around them in view of the risks presented?” Resources and References – Physical abuse, equal protection and restraint