Mental health service staff and patients experience high levels of conflict events such as aggression, violence and absconding. Often, in response to these events, restrictive practice such as containment and restraint may be used.

The objective of the Safewards model is to reduce conflict and containment within mental health services. The model attempts to identify and address the causes of behaviours in staff and patients that may result in harm, such as violence, self-harm or absconding and reduce the likelihood of this occurring.

The purpose of the Safewards Victoria project is to consolidate the initiatives from the Safewards trial and to expand the implementation of Safewards to all public mental health services across Victoria.

Our aim is to reduce and, where possible, eliminate the use of restrictive interventions by implementing an evidenced based model of care.

Originating in the UK and implemented internationally, the Safewards model was developed from a broad body of evidence including a randomised controlled trial conducted by the development team which established a decline in conflict at each of the sites using the Safewards model.

Safewards Victoria was trialled across 7 services (18 units) over one year. It was extensively evaluated by the Centre for Psychiatric Nursing, University of Melbourne with significant and positive results.

The Safewards Victoria  statewide implementation was formally launched at the Safewards Forum in Melbourne on 15 September 2016.

In October 2016, the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority in partnership with The Office of the Chief Mental Health Nurse committed to a 4 year program to consolidate the implementation of Safewards in the trial sites and to expand the implementation of Safewards to all public mental health services across Victoria together with a further pilot of the Safewards model at emergency departments and acute medical or surgical inpatient units in the later years of the program.