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education.vic.gov.au

Intervention Orders

Policy last updated

15 June 2020

Scope

  • Schools
Date:
January 2020

Policy

Policy

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that staff:

  • understand and respond appropriately to persons who are protected by, or subject to, intervention orders
  • are aware of their rights and obligations in applying for, and responding to, intervention orders relating to behaviour that has occurred during the course of their employment

Summary

  • Intervention orders can be family violence intervention orders made between family members or personal safety intervention orders made between people who are not family members.
  • School staff must take appropriate actions where they become aware that a student, staff member or parent is affected by an intervention order or a person is making an application for an intervention order that may impact on the way the school manages its operations. Different responses may apply depending on:
    • the type of intervention order
    • whether the person affected by the order is a parent/carer, student or staff member
    • the prohibitions in the particular order
  • It is a criminal offence to do something that is prohibited by an intervention order. It is the role of Victoria Police to investigate the incident and to determine whether it is appropriate to charge that person with a criminal offence.
  • If staff witness behaviour that they believe is prohibited by a family violence intervention order, staff must report to their leadership team, and principals must ensure a report is made to Victoria Police.
  • If staff witness behaviour that they believe is prohibited by a personal safety intervention order that could seriously threaten the safety, security, or wellbeing of any person or property for which the principal is responsible, staff must report to their leadership team, and principals must ensure a report is made to Victoria Police.
  • Principals of Victorian government schools and Department staff can seek legal advice about their particular circumstances from the Department’s Legal Division on 03 9637 3146 or legal.services@education.vic.gov.au

Details

Parents, carers, students and school staff are expected to provide the principal or a member of the school leadership team with relevant information and documentation about any family violence intervention orders or personal safety intervention orders, that may impact on students or staff or the way in which the school manages its operations.

Family violence intervention orders

Family violence intervention orders are made between family members, usually by the Magistrates’ Court or the Children’s Court and seek to protect one or more family members ('protected persons') from the behaviour of another family member ('respondent').

The effect of a family violence intervention order is to criminalise behaviour that is prohibited by the order. A court may include any conditions in a family violence intervention order that it considers necessary or desirable in the circumstances. Conditions that frequently appear in family violence interventions orders include prohibitions on the respondent from:

  • committing family violence
  • damaging the protected person’s property or threatening to do so
  • approaching, telephoning or contacting a protected person
  • being within a specified distance of a residential address, school, childcare or workplace
  • stalking a protected person or keeping them under surveillance
  • publishing information about a protected person on the internet or in an email
  • causing another person to do something on their behalf that is prohibited by the order

Family violence intervention orders, parenting orders and written agreements can all be valid orders, impacting a family at the same time. Principals should contact the Legal Division to seek specific advice about the interrelationship between orders, unless the interpretation of the order is completely clear and the parents are in agreement with the school’s interpretation.

Personal safety intervention orders

Personal safety intervention orders are made between people who are not family members, usually by the Magistrates’ Court or the Children’s Court and seek to protect a person, called the 'protected person' from another person called 'the respondent'.

The effect of a personal safety intervention order is to criminalise behaviour that is prohibited by the order. A court may include any conditions in a personal safety intervention order that it considers necessary or desirable in the circumstances. Conditions that frequently appear in personal safety interventions orders include prohibitions on the respondent from:

  • assault, sexual assault, harassment, property damage or interference or making a serious threat to the protected person
  • using abusive or offensive words or performing abusive or offensive acts
  • approaching, telephoning or otherwise contacting a protected person
  • being within a specified distance of a residential address, school, childcare or workplace
  • stalking a protected person
  • causing another person to do something on their behalf that is prohibited by the order

School management of interventions orders

School staff are expected to react sensitively and respond appropriately to any persons who are protected by, or are a respondent to, intervention orders.

Any student or school staff member applying for an intervention order or responding to an application for an intervention order that may affect the way the school manages its operations, is encouraged to speak to the principal or a member of the leadership team about the application.

A principal needs to decide what steps need to be taken to manage the intervention order at school. In doing so, principals and staff must consider the safety and wellbeing of all those involved and this must be done in accordance with the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic) (Charter of Human Rights). For example, principals must determine whether or not the actions to support the management of the intervention order at school, are for the protection of families and the protection of children in their best interests. Where a person’s behaviour poses a threat to safety, actions that are necessary to protect staff or students from harm, would be reasonable.

School staff must also manage information relating to intervention orders sensitively and in accordance with privacy laws. For further information refer to:

Support for student or staff affected by intervention orders

If a student or staff member is a party to an intervention order, the principal must consider whether there are any additional steps that a school needs to take to protect the safety or wellbeing of that student, other students or staff. For example:

  • offer and provide emotional and wellbeing support
  • create a safety plan or an individual management plan
  • make special arrangements for school events or excursions
  • consider removing the respondent’s access to real time information about when and where a student may be during the school day, or to other information that a principal reasonably believes will be used by the respondent to commit family violence, including emotional abuse

Intervention orders prohibiting students from attending school

If a student is excluded from attending their enrolled school because they are prohibited from doing so by an intervention order, on receipt of the intervention order a principal must:

  • offer and provide emotional and wellbeing support
  • confirm this with the student and their parent/ carer as soon as practicable
  • develop a Student Absence Learning Plan
  • assist the student to pursue appropriate educational, training or employment opportunities
  • encourage the student to obtain independent legal advice about the intervention order

Intervention orders prohibiting staff from attending school

If an intervention order prohibits an individual staff member from attending school and continuing with their employment, on receipt of the intervention order a principal must:

  • offer and provide emotional and wellbeing support
  • confirm this with the staff member as soon as practicable
  • encourage the staff member to obtain independent legal advice about the intervention order
  • seek immediate support from Legal Division in relation to the ongoing management of the situation

Witnessing behaviour prohibited by an intervention order

If staff witness behaviour that they believe is prohibited by a family violence intervention order, staff must report this behaviour to their leadership team who must then report it to Victoria Police and to the Department’s Incident Support and Operations Centre (ISOC) on 1800 126 126.

If staff witness behaviour that is prohibited by a personal safety intervention order, staff must report this behaviour to their leadership team. If the principal considers that the behaviour or incident could threaten the safety, security, or wellbeing of any person or property for which the principal is responsible, the principal or their delegate must then report it to Victoria Police and to the Department’s ISOC.

Where the principal considers it necessary to reduce risk to the safety or wellbeing of the protected person, they must also inform the protected person of the incident, and/or where appropriate, their parent or carer.

It is a criminal offence for a respondent to do something that they are prohibited from doing by an intervention order. It is the role of Victoria Police to investigate the incident and to determine whether it is appropriate in the circumstances, to charge that person with a criminal offence.

Requests for support or documentation in intervention order proceedings

If a principal is asked to provide information to a person who is seeking or responding to an application for an intervention order, a principal should avoid taking sides or becoming involved and decline a request to provide a statement or letter of support. A principal must only:

  • provide information or documentation to a court if this has been ordered by the court, for example, a subpoena or summons to produce documents to the court
  • give evidence in court in response to an order by the court, for example, by a subpoena or witness summons

Exceptions to the above apply when a member of staff is being supported by the Department’s Legal Division in applying for an intervention order, in which case the principal may follow the advice of the Legal Division regarding the proceedings.

Intervention order applications between students or staff members

If a principal becomes aware that a student or staff member is intending to apply or is applying for an intervention order against another student or staff member, the principal must take appropriate steps to try and resolve the concerns that may be putting that person’s safety at risk at school. This may include:

  • developing an individual Safety Plan — refer to template Student Safety Plan
  • increasing or changing staff supervision arrangements
  • making adjustments or special arrangements for an individual student or staff member
  • offering and providing any relevant emotional and wellbeing support
  • seeking support from the OHS Advisory Service to manage the safety risks — refer to Employee Health, Safety and Wellbeing — OHS Management System
  • using mediation and/or restorative practices
  • providing education about the risks and/or issues and/or social skills support

Definitions

Parent/Carer
A person who has parental responsibility for a child. This may include a biological parent or a person who has been granted parental responsibility by a court order 

Applicant
A person who is making an application for either a family violence intervention order or a personal safety intervention order and could be a police officer, an adult of behalf of a child, a child or an adult

Protected person
A person who is protected by an intervention order

'Affected person' or an 'affected family member'
A person for whose benefit an application for a family violence intervention order or personal safety intervention order is being made

Respondent
A person against whom an application for a family violence intervention order or a personal safety intervention order, has been made

Relevant legislation


Guidance

Guidance

There is no further guidance for this topic. For more information, refer to Resources tab.


Resources

Resources

Template plans

Principals may use the following templates to support students or staff affected by intervention orders:


Reviewed 20 May 2020