Restorative Practice

Restorative Practice (RP) is being implemented for the first time in Australia in mental health services at The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH). The services are the Secure Mental Health Rehabilitation Unit (SMHRU) who are implementing a Restorative Ward, as well as the Nundah community mental health team. This work is a collaboration between mental health services at TPCH and the Queensland Health Victim Support Service (QHVSS).

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Restorative Practice derives from First Nations’ peacekeeping and has traditionally been used in Australia in youth justice, schools, adult criminal justice and to respond to community and workplace conflict. In 2018 and 2019 a cross government and non-government agency working group in Queensland developed a model of Restorative Practice tailored to a mental health service context. Model development included consultation with mental health staff, restorative practice experts, researchers, international clinicians using RP in mental health services and mental health consumers.

Implementation of this model of RP commenced in December 2019 at the SMHRU TPCH with the aim of reducing the potential for harm (including violence) and responding to incidents of harm. The model includes a continuum of Restorative Practice interventions from Affective Statements; Restorative Questions; Impromptu Restorative Meetings; Circles and Restorative Meetings. The interventions are focused on building relationships to prevent conflict and harm and repairing relationships after incidents of harm. RP creates an opportunity to communicate about what led up to the harm, the impact of the harm, what needs to happen to repair the harm to the extent possible and brings together those most impacted by the harm.

The model being implemented uses the following RP Continuum:

RP Continuum

RP does not replace any of the existing processes responding to incidents of harm, rather it compliments those already in place. The Restorative Practice model partners with the Adult Restorative Justice Conferencing (ARJC) Unit within the Department of Justice and Attorney General. The ARJC Unit provides trained, accredited facilitators for formal restorative meetings.

Development and implementation of Restorative Practice in mental health services at TPCH has benefited from support by the Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch, Department of Health and The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation who provided grant funding covering the cost of employment of a trained RP clinician to lead this work and external RP training available for all staff and stakeholders. To assist in understanding the impact of this innovative work, the Queensland Mental Health Commission is funding an external evaluation. The final evaluation report is expected in the second half of 2022.

Contact Us

For more information about Restorative Practice in mental health services at TPCH contact:
Catriona Harwood, Restorative Practice Lead or Michael Power, Director, Queensland Health Victim Support Service on email: restorative@heatlh.qld.gov.au or phone 1800 208 005.

Dr Senthil Muthuswamy, Operations Director mental health services TPCH on email: Senthil.Muthuswamy@health.qld.gov.au

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Secure Mental Health Rehabilitation Unit

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Restorative Practice
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