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The objective of the Safewards Project is to reduce conflict and containment within mental health services. The project aims to identify and address 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. Mental health is ranked six out of the top 10 high risk clinical specialties within the VMIA Medical Indemnity (MI) profile.

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

The purpose of the Safewards project is to consolidate the initiatives from these trials and expand the programs 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.

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

In October 2016, together with The Office of the Chief Mental Health Nurse, VMIA committed to a four-year program to implement Safewards in trial sites and expand the program to all public mental health services across Victoria.

For more information please visit:
https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/safewards