The principal or their delegate must be notified of any physical restrain or seclusion incident.

Every incident of physical restraint and seclusion must be managed in accordance with the department’s policy, Managing and Reporting School Incidents (including emergencies).

Report the incident to the department

  • Every incident of physical restraint or seclusion must be reported as an incident on eduSafe Plus, the department’s online incident reporting and hazard management system. This can be self-reported by principals (or their authorised delegates within eduSafe Plus), or by calling the Incident Support and Operations Centre (ISOC) on 1800 126 126.
  • The principal (or delegate) is responsible for assessing the severity of the incident, using the Severity rating decision-making matrix (PDF)External Link . However, the ISOC can be contacted on 1800 126 126 for support (Report for Support) when assessing and assigning the incident severity rating.
  • The context of an incident may influence its severity rating, whether there has been a pattern or history of this type of incident, as well as specific student needs or medical history.
  • Incidents assessed as ‘Low’ or ‘Medium’ can be reported directly into eduSafe Plus by the principal (or delegate) or can be reported by contacting ISOC. ISOC can report incidents in eduSafe Plus on behalf of the school.
  • Incidents assessed as ‘High’ or ‘Extreme’ severity require the principal (or delegate) to contact ISOC. ISOC will report incidents in eduSafe Plus on behalf of the school.

Incident severity ratings – 'High' and 'Extreme'

Principals (or their delegates) are required to report to ISOC:

  • ‘Extreme’ severity rated incidents immediately (within the hour)
  • ‘High’ severity rated incidents as soon as possible (within 3 hours).

On receipt of a report for an incident rated 'High' and 'Extreme', ISOC will lodge the eduSafe Plus report, for coordination of supports and the response in the school.

The following facts are required to be included in all reports:

  • The name of the student(s)
  • Age of the student(s)
  • Year level of the student(s)
  • A brief account of the incident, which may include:
    • What happened immediately before the behaviour (the antecedent/ trigger)?
    • What action was taken to de-escalate the situation?
    • What was the observed behaviour resulting in the need for restraint or seclusion?
  • Describe the physical restraint or seclusion used (for example, student’s arms held against the sides of their body for one minute):
    • How many staff were involved in the incident?
    • Differentiate between physical restraint and protective physical interventions.
  • Accurately identify if seclusion was used (for example, was the student left alone in a room and prevented from leaving the room)
  • Recording both physical restraint and seclusion may be necessary in some incidents (for example, if a student is physically restrained to seclude them)
  • Did the student’s behaviour pose an immediate risk to:
    • the student’s own safety
    • another student’s safety
    • staff safety
    • school property
  • What happened immediately following the incident (the consequence)?
    • Was the student returned to regular routine?
    • Was the student returned to modified routine?
    • Was the student exited to parent/carer?
    • Was the student exited to emergency services?
    • Was the student suspended?
    • Other – please provide further detail.
  • For each additional incident within the one call, please record:
    • Date
    • Time
    • Any additional information related specifically to that incident
  • Whether the incident was related to physical restraint, seclusion, or protective physical intervention

Incidents that impact staff

Where there is an incident that impacts on the health, safety and wellbeing of staff, schools must:

  • include these details in the eduSafe Plus report. The principal and/or their delegate must ensure all identified hazards and incidents involving employees, volunteers, visitors, contractors, and members of the public are reported onto eduSafe Plus. This includes employee or volunteer related incidents that occur both on and off the department premises
  • consider if a report to WorkSafe is required. The Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic)External Link requires notification to WorkSafe of serious workplace incidents, referred to as ‘Notifiable Incidents’. Refer to the Defined health and safety terms guidance chapter of the Employee Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy for a definition of ‘notifiable incident’.

Schools should also consider contacting the:

Why reporting is required

Compliance with department policies is a requirement of employment in Victorian government schools. Reporting of incidents of physical restraint or seclusion enables:

  • the provision of support services and minimisation of the scale and duration of disruption caused by an incident
  • a state-wide view of trends to inform prevention initiatives and support services
  • compliance with requests for physical restraint and seclusion data from independent external agencies.

Report the incident to parents/carers

In addition to reporting the incident to the department, parents/carers must be informed as soon as practicable following an incident in which physical restraint or seclusion has been used with their child.

School staff need to use their judgement about what type of communication is appropriate for a student’s family/carer following an incident, but staff must use the most efficient and effective method available (for instance, face-to-face conversation at the end of the school day, email or telephone notification, message left via a communication book, or scheduled meeting).

Schools are required to document all conversations with parents/carers and attempts to notify them of an incident involving their child.

Schools must provide parents/carers with the following information:

  • when the incident happened
  • if there were injuries to the student, what they are and how they are being treated
  • a description of the physical restraint or seclusion used (what was done to the student)
  • why the student was physically restrained or secluded
  • what triggered the student’s behaviour
  • a description of the student’s behaviour
  • what happened after the incident
  • who was involved in the incident
  • whether anyone else was injured or property damaged
  • what post incident actions the school has or will undertake.

Managing complaints from parents

It is understandable that some parents/carers may feel upset or angry if their child has been physically restrained or secluded. If parents/carers make a complaint in relation to an incident, refer to the department’s advice on Complaints — Parents.

Guidance chapter on reporting requirements following a physical restraint or seclusion incident

Reviewed 17 June 2024

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