- SBMVA - Stephen Bennet

Senior GSA Training & Consultancy
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The General Services Association (GSA)

The GSA is recognised as one of the largest membership bodies associated with training and practice and theory in the prevention and management of violence in the UK.

History of the GSA

The physical techniques were initially introduced as a response to rising levels of aggression towards prison service staff and the need to attempt to retrieve a working relationship with the prisoners in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

One of the founders of prison service and health care service physical intervention training programmes (Aidan Healey OBE), founded C&R General Services in 1988, this was in response to overwhelming requests from mainstream NHS facilities (Psychiatric and General medicine) for training in the management of violent behaviour.

Aidan Healey and colleagues reviewed the various programmes taught at that time and founded what is today the GSA model of prevention and management of violence and aggression.

Since its initial formation, the scope of General Services has steadily increased across a wide range of organisations, both in the UK and overseas. There are now upwards of two thousand five hundred GSA Tutors whose task is to set up training programmes to meet the operational needs of staff and to provide for the necessary on-going support.

The GSA programme/model is currently taught internationally and continues to be subject to on-going review at local and national levels.

The GSA is multidisciplinary and multi-agency in composition with tutors from Mental Health, Learning Disability, Child & Adolescent Services, Brain Injury Services, Social Services, Mainstream and Special Needs Education, Community Outreach Services and the Independent sector, local council, Voluntary & Commercial Sectors.

The aim of the association is to bring together GSA tutors from various professional groups and agencies to establish a national information and support network and to develop and disseminate best practice in relation to training in the Recognition Prevention and Management of Violence and Aggression on a national and international level.

The GSA provides a National Support and communication network by having a Board of Directors, a Senior Tutor Group and a Tutor Group.

The GSA model is widely regarded as the specialist model for health and social care sectors with its ethos and value being clinically health and social care based.

GSA based courses contain both the underpinning theoretical elements in line with national best practice guidance and all of the physical skills (to include both breakaway/disengagement and physical intervention skills) have completed a comprehensive external medical and legal risk assessment process.

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