Sue Goodman reviews a guide to controlling aggressive confrontations, while Ravinder Barn laments a lack of user-friendliness on a CD-Rom on racism

Back – rarely and safely: Physical restraint for young people

Bernard Allen.
Lucky Duck Publishing,
3 Thorndale Mews,
Bristol, BS8 2HX


is a joint restraint and de-escalation of aggressive confrontations training package
for those working with children.  It is
a very task to match the training needs of individual establishments to a set
programme.  However Allen has thoroughly
researched the available material in order to match the criteria required both
legally and institutionally, to create a balanced programme which, with the
flexibility of the trainers delivering it, could be adapted to meet the
specific needs.

acknowledges that interpretation of the Children Act, and subsequent
educational guidelines have created an unclear position for staff; and
clarifies the legal framework as much as possible. The package includes a text
book, which puts the need for training into context.  It is clear with regard to the difficulty of balancing training
between legal, ethical, social and emotional issues, and acknowledges that
institutions have to regularly review all areas of its behaviour
management.  It  acknowledges that there may be occasions
when physical restraint is necessary. 

book, which is aimed as reading for the trainers,  can be referred to as background, covering issues around
aggression, reducing risk in order to avoid aggression, managing non-verbal
communication within social interaction, and awareness of use of
non-threatening language; it gives clear directions and choices.

video and course book are very accessible. 
There are directions, giving the trainer and participants spaces to
practice and discuss content, and there are scenarios and techniques to aid
professional discussions around safety.

workers with responsibility for young people need to know about and understand
the context of how they are worked with in institutions, whether care or
school. There is a need for joined up training and thinking, so this extremely
useful tool should therefore not be seen as external to the world of the social
worker, but an integral part of their training.

Sue Goodman is special needs co-ordinator, Vicarage
Primary School,

The Virtual Social Care Training CD-ROM: Volume 2, Tackling Institutional

Tarsem Singh Cooner.
TSC Productions,
P O Box 7959
West Midlands, B67 7RP

(organisations); £15(individual)

is a computer based training programme designed to enable the social care
practitioner to identify, analyse and counter the process of institutional
racism within their organisation and within their own practice.

idea of the programme is to create a safe environment to understand and
challenge the pernicious effects of institutional racist practices, which lead
to social exclusion. The CD-ROM covers a range of areas on the theme of
developing appropriate services for black communities.

include topics such as developing strategies to establish needs of black
communities, partnership and consultation, interpretation and translation, and
awareness of service provision.

this CD-ROM builds on the first one on racism, it has as many technical
drawbacks as the original. Most of these centre around the user interface for

  Lack of conformance to accepted user
interface standards such MS Windows or Web-based interface styles.
  Confusion around the use of two
‘introduction’ tabs.
  Over-reliance on text and
insufficient use of hyperlinks.
  The notepad is a good idea, but
prevents the user from saving and printing.
  The question and answer screen is
again a nice touch but is poorly designed.

end result is a user interface which is likely to lead to frustration and

use of varied case studies is a good idea and is central to the notion of a
multimedia  training package. However,
they are far from challenging as the answers can be easily derived from the
task description, so there is little scope to encourage independent and critical

idea of computer based training is sound. However, the lack of ‘user
friendliness’ and the inability to present the case study material in a
stimulating fashion is highly disappointing. 
My guess is that due to its lack of ability to fully engage the user, it
is unlikely to be utilised very much. 
This is a great pity as there is an important need for training in this

Barn is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social and Political
Science at Royal Holloway, University of London.


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