Restrictive Practice in Education Settings: Institutional Violence, Disability and Law

  • Linda SteeleEmail author


The current legal framework governing restrictive practices in schools regulates, rather than prohibits, restrictive practices. The central aim of this chapter is twofold: (i) to provide an overview of the legal framework of the use of restrictive practices in schools, and (ii) to identify some critical entry points into questioning the self-evidence of this legal framework and consequently reframe restrictive practices in schools as a lawful form of institutional violence. The chapter begins by introducing restrictive practices in schools and then provides an overview of the current legal framework that regulates the use of restrictive practices, and ultimately positions these practices beyond legal definitions of unlawful violence and hence beyond legal liability. The chapter then discusses the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and recent Australian government inquiries, which provide a strong policy basis for viewing restrictive practices as violence, which should be prohibited.


Restrictive practices Violence Disability rights Disability Human rights Law reform 



Thank you to Claire Spivakovsky for referring the author to some useful references on restrictive practices in schools. Thank you to the editors and anonymous reviewers for their feedback.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Technology SydneySydneyAustralia

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