Villawood 6b - De-escalation Strategy


De-escalation Strategy: Control and Restraint

The expert report on Josefa Rauluni’s death, prepared by the Forensic Psychiatrist Dr Michael Diamond, notes that there was ‘no formulation of a plan’ nor any ‘exploration of what the options might be with regard to Mr Rauluni’s entitlement to resist the order to travel to the airport’. Both Dr Diamond and the Coroner criticised the lack of coordination between Serco and Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) officials and the fact that direction for the use of force was made ‘precipitously and without negotiation.’

Insufficient efforts were made to de-escalate the situation and there were no trained negotiators on site. Intimidation, verbal threats and intent to use force and restraint were the methods of choice employed by Serco in what was a very high risk situation.

The main imperative was to get Mr Rauluni to the airport so that he would not miss the flight to Fiji. In violation of their duty of care, punctuality was prioritised above his safety and wellbeing. His life was deemed less important than Serco’s contractual obligation to carry out his removal.



‘She was  an instructor in control and restraint and mentioned in evidence that, “De-escalation was part of it”. When asked to clarify what was actually done, she agreed that it meant, “actually physically making contact with the detainee and using some physical method”.’

Reference to Ms Aiono-Laga (Serco Client Service Manager for Operations of the Transport and Escorts at VIDC), in Dr Michael Diamond’s Expert Report

‘Although the word negotiation is used loosely by a number of witnesses, none of the interventions attempted amounted to negotiation practice at even the most basic level…The only response was to form two teams to physically contain him, restrain him and forcible remove him from the detention centre…A number of people attempted to coerce the subject from his position on the balcony. Different orders were communicated. There was no plan. There was no order.’

Dr Michael Diamond, Expert Report



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