Regulating Restraint and Seclusion in Australian Government Schools: A Comparative Human Rights Analysis
The misuse of restraint and seclusion in Australian primary and secondary schools has received considerable exposure in recent years. Several Australian jurisdictions have recently reviewed laws and policies governing their use in schools. Yet reports about the inappropriate use of these practices remain prominent and raise concerns about whether existing regulatory frameworks do enough to protect the rights of children with disabilities in schools. This paper undertakes the first comparative analysis of existing regulatory frameworks governing the use of restraint and seclusion in Australian government schools, both primary and secondary, and considers whether existing frameworks are compliant with international human rights obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (‘CRPD’) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (‘CRC’). The paper reveals substantial variation in regulation between jurisdictions, and demonstrates that significant reform is necessary to bring existing regulatory frameworks into alignment with human rights norms.
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