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Challenging Behaviour

Challenging behaviour can be defined as:

  • ‘culturally abnormal behaviour of such intensity, frequency or duration that the physical safety of the person or others is likely to be placed in serious jeopardy’ or
  • ‘behaviour which is likely to seriously limit the use of, or result in the person being denied access to, ordinary community facilities'.


It’s important that such behaviour is considered in a multi-disciplinary approach from our teams - including looking at history, physical, psychiatric, developmental, psychological, environmental, communication, occupation/activity and sensory factors.

Our teams will work with a person to understand the circumstances in which the challenging behaviour occurs, what maintains it, and what function it serves. They do this by working within a ‘Positive Behaviour Support Framework’, which develops effective support for the person which includes both proactive and reactive strategies.

We have created guidance which describes how our Learning Disability Services work alongside people with challenging behaviour. 

Key Information

Clinical Effectiveness Lead for Learning Disabilities

Kuljit Bhogal

Supporting Information

NICE Guidance - Prevention and interventions for people with LD whose behaviour challenges (2015)

Department of Health paper - Reducing the need for restrictive interventions (2014)

Department of Health paper - A National response to Winterbourne View Hospital (2012)