Chapter 9 — Considerations when sharing information about diverse and at-risk communities
When sharing information to promote child wellbeing and safety or to identify and respond to family violence, schools need to consider that some groups experience increased vulnerability to family violence. For example, some groups experience higher rates of and increased vulnerability as a result of their age, cultural background, location or socioeconomic status.
‘Diverse communities’ and ‘at-risk groups’ are broadly defined to include:
- diverse cultural, linguistic and faith communities (also collectively called CALD communities)
- people with a disability
- people experiencing mental health issues
- lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual and gender diverse, (LGBTIQ) people
- women in or exiting prison
- people who work in the sex industry
- people living in regional, remote and rural communities
- male victim survivors
- older people (aged 65 years, or 45 years for Aboriginal people)
- children (0 to 4 years of age are most at risk) and young people (12 to 25 years of age).
It is helpful for schools to consider both the individual circumstances of the student and parent/carer and also the different family and community contexts. This will improve their ability to engage with children and families.
When sharing information about Aboriginal people, schools should consider:
- that for Aboriginal people the concept of family is much broader as it encompasses kinship relationships and the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community
- how to promote a child’s cultural safety
- how to recognise the cultural rights, familial and community connections of a children who are Aboriginal, Torres Straight Island or both
- the need for additional support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students through the Department’s regions.
When sharing information about people with disabilities, schools should consider:
- asking the child or young person what they need, to ensure they understand the information provided and are able to provide an informed opinion, without making assumptions about which supports may be required
- asking the child or young person if they would like to seek the support of a trusted person or advocate to ensure that they understand the reason for information sharing.
When sharing information about people from a CALD background, schools should consider:
- there may be language and literacy considerations. This requires sensitivity around ways of communication — schools may need to source an interpreter of the correct language and dialect.
- there may be complex family and community dynamics to consider, as well as complex migration experiences
- when sharing information about people from a refugee background, there is often an added layer of trauma.
When sharing information about people who identify as LGBTIQ, school should consider:
- the impact sharing information about sexual orientation, sex or gender may have on safety in the family or community
- that services may discriminate against, further abuse, or exclude individuals because of sexuality, sex, gender or sex characteristics
- that sex, gender and sexuality may not be recognised by services, or that individuals’ needs will not be understood
- that homophobia, biphobia or transphobia by family members is recognised as family violence.
Reviewed 19 April 2021