BIHR welcome the launch of the Restraint Reduction Network Training Standards 2019. We are delighted to have been involved in the development of this framework which has human rights at its very core.

The standards will provide a benchmark for training in supporting people who are distressed in education, health and social care settings. These are ethical standards which aim to protect human rights and reduce restraint. The case for why the standards are so needed is made in its foreword, which recounts the story of 23 year old Seni who died in a mental health hospital in 2010 after prolonged restraint by 11 police officers. The use of restraint, whilst occasionally necessary, can often be traumatic and is frequently not the most proportionate or lawful way of working with a person.

BIHR do a lot of work regarding restrictive practices, supporting both staff and service users to understand this in relation to human rights. Evidence gathered from our work clearly reflects that a rights based, person centred approach can make a positive difference to practice.

In one of our training sessions a community learning disability nurse told us:

 “I’m uncomfortable using restraint as it has been used to control people in the past but the Human Rights Act gave me the confidence to intervene, knowing that we were taking reasonable steps to protect the patient's right to life and right to be free from inhumane and degrading treatment and that we were using restrictions proportionate to the situation.”

 Using human rights as a framework empowers staff to make decisions about how to work in a way that treats people with dignity and respect.

The standards were launched at Parliament on Monday 5th January 2019 and are available to read here. We look forward to seeing the positive impact that these standards will have on future practice in education, health and social care settings.