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Physical restraint in residential child care

Young girl looking out and happy

CELCIS hosted a series of blog posts discussing the challenging and complex subject of physical restrain in residential child care.

A current focus and conversation around physical restraint on the political agenda/radar,  in the media, and in social media, stimulated the original interest in having a plenary presentation session at the SIRCC Conference in June 2019.

The plenary was presented by Dr Laura Steckley, a Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Strathclyde. The plenary aimed to:

  • facilitate consideration of physical restraint from multiple perspectives, including care leavers, direct practitioners, close-in managers, external managers, care inspectors
  • help audience members hold some of the complexities around the practice of physical restraint in a meaningful way that aids understanding
  • energise a collective will that turns into a collective endeavour to reduce and where possible eliminate physical restraint in residential child care establishments; and where physical restraints do occur, to increase the likelihood that they are experienced as an act of care rather than brutality

Since the presentation, a group of individuals has come together and formed the Scottish Physical Restraint Action Group. This Group, made up of people with care experience, practitioners, leaders, managers, policy leads and university colleagues, is examining what is happening now, what else needs to be known, and what else needs to happen in children's houses, services, policies, and wider systems to ensure the eradication of the harm caused by physical restraint. 

CELCIS hosted a series of blog posts over a three-week period in October 2019, to stimulate debate, giving voice to care experienced people and those working in residential child care. The blog posts by no means covered all perspectives of the conversation, and more voices need to be heard. We've gathered all the blog posts here, in one place.

The blog posts

Laura Steckley's presentation

This presentation was first delivered as a plenary session at the SIRCC Conference in 2019. The original presentation contained audio clips of care experienced people and care workers. These have been removed to safeguard all those involved.

Further info

If you would like to find out more about how you can get involved with the Group, please email, putting 'Scottish Physical Restraint Action Group' in the subject line, or you can continue the discussion by commenting on any of the blogs.

Contact us

University of Strathclyde, Curran Building, Level 6
94 Cathedral St, Glasgow G4 0LG
0141 444 8500

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