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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/previous-practice-centre/policy/caring-for-children-and-young-people/key-information/putting-safety-first-is-it-ever-okay-to-use-reasonable-force-on-children-and-young-people/
Printed: 22/10/2019
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Putting safety first: Is it ever okay to use 'reasonable force' on children and young people?

Updated: 03 October 2012

What's Important To Us

There are times when some children and young people act in a way that could cause harm to themselves or others. These can be very difficult situations to manage and may be triggered by a variety of issues. It is important that the child or young person is kept safe, that their behaviour is managed and that their risk to others and themselves is minimised as quickly as possible.

The children and young people we work with are particularly vulnerable as a result of their life experiences. They need care and gentleness no matter the situation.

They need to be listened to rather than engaged in conflictual and potentially harmful situations.

The use of force against children and young people is always a last resort. It may seem reasonable at the time to prevent harm to them or others however the use of force could trigger memories and cause significant trauma. If a decision is made to use reasonable force against a child or young person, we need to be sure this is a last resort and premised only on keeping the child or young person safe from further harm.

This key information refers to situations regarding the use of reasonable force against a child or young person in the chief executive's custody. It applies to Oranga Tamariki staff (including escorts, mentors and trackers) and approved Oranga Tamariki caregivers. This key information does not cover the use of reasonable force by staff within a section 364 residence.