This policy supports Victorian government schools to use the school community safety order scheme (Scheme) to manage the risks to the safety of school staff, students and the broader school community from a small minority of parents, carers and other adults who engage in harmful, threatening or abusive behaviour.
- The Scheme enables authorised persons to issue school community safety orders (orders) to prohibit or restrain certain behaviours from occurring on school premises and school-related places, or in relation to school staff. Orders can be immediate or ongoing.
- Orders can only be issued to adults (18 years old or over) who are not staff members or students at the school. This may include parents or carers of students at the school, former students, friends or partners of students, former staff members or staff members from other schools and third-party contractors engaged by the school.
- Orders can only be made if the school has considered other ways to address the behaviour and an order is the least restrictive means available.
- If an order is given to a person who has a child at the school, the school must make sure that the child can continue to attend school and enable the parent to be involved with their education.
- The Guidance tab contains important information about the Scheme that principals and authorised persons are required to understand before issuing orders.
Schools are positive places of learning and work where everyone has a right to a safe and healthy environment. Everyone in a school community plays a shared role in being respectful. When parents and carers behave aggressively towards staff or members of the school community, it can have a significant impact on the physical and mental health, safety and wellbeing of the staff, students and other members of the school community who experience it.
The Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Act) was amended by the Education and Training Reform Amendment (Protection of School Communities) Act to establish the Scheme. The Scheme is just one part of the department’s suite of initiatives to address work-related violence in schools.
Following this policy, and the procedures outlined in the Guidance tab, will assist principals and authorised persons to issue orders consistently with legislation, the binding Ministerial Guidelines, and department policy.
Types of orders
There are 2 types of orders that principals and other authorised persons can issue to prohibit or limit different types of behaviours – ongoing school community safety orders (ongoing orders) and immediate school community safety orders (immediate orders).
Ongoing orders may be made for any period up to a maximum of 12 months and can prohibit or limit a person from:
- entering or remaining on any school-related place of the relevant school
- approaching, or causing another person to approach, within 25 metres of any staff member or class of staff members within or outside of any school-related place of the relevant school
- contacting any staff member or class of staff members
- using or communicating on a communication platform owned, controlled by, or established in relation to the relevant school.
Ongoing orders can be issued where an authorised person reasonably believes that one or more of the grounds exist with respect to the person who is proposed to be subject to the order. The Grounds for issuing an order guidance chapter contains a detailed description of the grounds for issuing ongoing orders.
Immediate orders prohibit a person from entering or remaining on any school-related place of the relevant school specified in the order and remain in effect for a maximum of 14 days.
Immediate orders may be made orally or in writing where the person who is subject to the order poses an unacceptable and imminent risk of:
- harm to another person on school premises or to a member of the school community at a school-related place
- causing significant disruption to school activities
- interfering with the wellbeing, safety or educational opportunities of students.
Breaches to orders
If a person breaches an order, schools should seek advice from Legal Division if they want to initiate enforcement proceedings in the Magistrates' Court for one of the following orders:
- a fine of up to 60 penalty units (access the Department of Justice and Community Safety to find out how much this amounts to)
- an order requiring the person to comply with the order
- an order requiring the person to take specified action to comply with the order
- an order requiring the person to do anything else that the Court thinks is appropriate.
A person who breaches an order will not receive a criminal penalty.
Internal and external review of orders
A person to whom an ongoing order applies may apply in writing to the relevant school for an internal review of the authorised person’s decision to:
- make the order
- vary the order on the authorised person's own motion
- refuse an application by the subject for a variation to the order
- refuse to revoke the order.
An application must be referred to a reviewer as soon as is practicable, who may affirm, vary or revoke the relevant decision.
A person who is not satisfied with the outcome of an internal review of the order may apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative for an external review of that decision.
Other actions and responsibilities
Other school actions and responsibilities associated with the scheme are detailed in the Guidance tab, including mandatory considerations for issuing orders, relevant procedures and reporting.
Authorised persons are empowered to make, vary or revoke school community safety orders. Principals and the Secretary of the Department of Education and Training are automatically authorised persons under the Act by virtue of the position they hold. The Secretary and the Deputy Secretary, Schools and Regional Services have the power to authorise additional persons or classes of persons to be authorised persons.
Member of the school community
A student enrolled at the school, a parent of a student at the school, a staff member of the school or a person who is present at a school-related place of the school for a reason connected with the school.
School-related place refers to:
- any premises of the school, which may include an area that is within 25 metres of the boundary of those premises
- in addition to the school premises, any other place or premises on which there is an activity conducted by or in connection with the school, which may include an area that is within 25 metres of the boundary of that place or those premises.
- Child and Family Violence Information Sharing Schemes
- Child Safety and
- Complaints – Parents
- Emergency and Critical Incident Management Planning
- Intervention Orders
- Mental Health and Wellbeing – Employees
- Mental Health in Schools
- OHS Risk Management
- Principal Health and Wellbeing
- Records Management — School Records
- Respectful Behaviours within the School
- Student Engagement
- Student Support Services
- Work-Related Violence in Schools
- Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005
- Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992
- Education and Training Reform Act 2006
- Education and Training Reform Amendment (Protection of School Communities) Act
- Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
- Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017
- Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014
Reviewed 03 January 2023