School operations

Suicide Response (Postvention)

Glossary of key department terms

Be You
Be YouExternal Link is led by Beyond Blue with delivery partners Early Childhood AustraliaExternal Link and headspaceExternal Link . It promotes mental health and wellbeing, from the early years to 18, and offers educators and learning communities’ evidence-based online professional learning, complemented by a range of tools and resources to turn learning into action.

Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS)
The CISS is established under Part 6A of the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005. The scheme enables information to be shared by organisations and services prescribed as an information sharing entity to promote the wellbeing or safety of a child or group of children under the age of 18 years. Refer to the Child Information Sharing Scheme Ministerial GuidelinesExternal Link for further guidance about using the scheme.

Department confidential student files (DCS)
DCS files are student files prepared by members of the Student Support Service (SSS) team. These files are distinct from files kept by the school which hold details of enrolment. DCS files contain confidential information developed to detail therapeutic interventions, family history and reports from educators and family about the student. Principals are required to provide adequate storage facilities to ensure the confidentiality and security of the files on location at the school. Only qualified SSS staff members are certified to access the files.

Doctors in Secondary Schools
This Doctors in Secondary Schools program funds GPs to attend up to 100 Victorian government secondary schools up to one day a week. The GPs provide medical advice and health care to those students most in need up to one day a week. The objectives of the program are to:

  • make primary health care more accessible to students
  • provide assistance to young people to identify and address any health problems early
  • reduce the pressure on working parents.

Duty of care
Under the Department’s Duty of Care Policy, all principals, teachers and other staff working with students in Victorian government schools owe a duty of care to those students and must take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of reasonably foreseeable harm to students. Refer to the policy for more information.

Emergency management plan (EMP)
Refers to a school’s plan outlining the steps it will undertake to respond to a critical incident. The Department requires all schools to have an up-to-date school plan that addresses site-specific hazards and threats that have the potential to result in emergencies and critical incidents. As part of the planning process, schools will have told families how they will communicate with them in the event of a critical incident. Plans are reviewed and updated online annually by 1 September or following an emergency or critical incident.

Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS)
The FVISS is established under Part 5A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008. The scheme enables relevant information to be shared between certain prescribed entities, namely Risk Assessment Entities (RAE) and Information Sharing Entities (ISE), to assess or manage family violence risk, including risks to child, adolescent and adult victim survivors. Refer to the Family Violence Information Sharing Guidelines (Word)External Link for further guidance about using the scheme.

Incident management team (IMT)
Refers to the team responsible for leading the school’s immediate responses to a critical incident. Members of this team have been identified in the school’s emergency management plan and will include the principal or delegate, members of the senior leadership team and those with wellbeing responsibilities.

Incident report and information system (IRIS)
Refers to the data management system that ISOC uses to record all emergencies and critical incidents that they receive from schools. Following details of the emergency of critical incident being recorded in IRIS a copy of the summary report is automatically emailed to the school principal and to the relevant area in central office and the region.

Incident support operations centre (ISOC)
Refers to the coordination unit that schools are required to contact (1800 126 126) in the event their school experiences an emergency or critical incident. Registering the report with ISOC will inform the SSS area team of the incident and initiate appropriate support from the team of allied health professionals. ISOC records the incident using the Incident Report and Information System (IRIS).

Mental Health Practitioners
Mental Health Practitioners (MHPs) are one of a number of Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion Workforces (HWIW) that operate to support Victorian schools and student outcomes. All government secondary schools are funded to appoint a suitably qualified mental health professional to provide direct counselling for students with mild to moderate mental health needs, coordinate supports for students with critical needs and enhance promotion and prevention activities in the school.

SAFEMinds: Schools and Families Enhancing Minds
Is a joint initiative of the Victorian Government and headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, offering school communities a comprehensive learning and resource package that will enhance their capacity to effectively identify children and young people with early signs of mental health issues, offer school-based interventions and refer appropriately when needed.

School environment
Refers to any physical or virtual place made available or authorised by the school or school council for use by a student during or outside school hours, including a campus of the school, online school environment and other locations provided for a student’s use (such as school camps, sporting events, excursions. For more information, refer to Reporting and Managing School Incidents (including emergencies).

School incident management system (SIMS)
Refers to the 6-step process outlining tasks schools are required to implement when faced with an emergency or critical incident at school as outlined below:

  • Step 1: Identify and respond immediately
  • Step 2: Report for support
  • Step 3: Ongoing support and recovery
  • Step 4: Investigate
  • Step 5: Review and close
  • Step 6: Analyse and learn.

The approach offers consistency across all three tiers of the Department (school, regional office and central office) and adopts a whole-of-Department framework to managing and minimising the impact of incidents that affect the health, safety and wellbeing of students and staff and disrupt school operations as a consequence. SIMS introduces an incident severity rating to triage the management of incidents and coordination of support.

Secondary School Nursing Program
The Secondary School Nursing Program (SSNP) aims to support the health and wellbeing of secondary school students in targeted secondary schools, with a focus on health promotion and primary prevention to improve student health, wellbeing and learning outcomes. Activities of the SSN may include health promotion, health education including classroom and small group sessions, and limited primary health care including student assessment, referral and support. The SSN works collaboratively with students, teachers, wellbeing staff, school leadership and school communities to build capability and improve health outcomes.

Student Support Service (SSS)
Refers to a team of regionally based allied health professionals providing schools with support to ensure children and young people facing barriers to learning can achieve their educational and development potential. Schools seeking support from SSS initiate a referral requesting support and this is triaged and coordinated with area teams. In addition to specialist individual support to students, they offer workforce capability building for school staff, as well as group-based services and support.

Support from the Department’s Legal Division
Principals of Victorian government schools and any Department staff member can seek legal advice from the Legal Division by contacting 03 9637 3146 or

Respectful Relationships
The Respectful RelationshipsExternal Link initiative supports schools and early childhood settings to promote and model respect, positive attitudes and behaviours. It teaches children how to build healthy relationships, resilience and confidence.

The Resilience, Rights and Respectful RelationshipsExternal Link optional teaching and learning materials have been designed for teachers in primary and secondary schools to develop students’ social, emotional and positive relationship skills. These materials support schools to deliver respectful relationships education through the Victorian Curriculum.

Suicide Risk Continuum Training (SRCT)
SRCT is a joint initiative of the Victorian Government and headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, offering mental health training to enable school staff to identify individual students at risk and respond appropriately.

Includes a glossary of terms used in this Guide

Reviewed 17 January 2023

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