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Staff should seek to calm things down before considering restraint, say children.Children in care say that staff should be trained properly so that they do not need to use restraint, according to a new report by the Children’s Rights Director Roger Morgan.

Drawing on interviews and discussion groups involving 94 children in care, the report suggests that many workers do not want to restrain children and that less restraint is used when staff have been given the necessary skills to calm children down.   

Children surveyed did recognise that, on rare occasions, some restraint may be necessary to prevent injury or damage to property. However, Mr Morgan says that “A common theme emerging from discussions included children warning that restraint itself can ‘wind people up’ and thereby pose the risk of making things worse rather than improving behaviour.”

Every discussion group agreed that staff should always try to calm things down before things get so bad that restraint is needed. Children also said that staff should know if a child has been sexually abused and take this into account when deciding whether to use restraint or not.

The report, Children’s views on restraint, is available at:

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