Community Safety Orders Policy
Everyone in the Wesley College (‘the College’) community has the right to a safe and healthy working and learning environment. Instances of violence and aggression directed towards school staff from parents, carers and other adult members of the school community can have significant impacts on the health, safety and wellbeing of the person who experiences this, as well as those around them.
This policy outlines specific action that authorised representatives of the College may take to address the risk of harmful, threatening or abusive behaviour directed towards school staff.
This policy applies to all members of the College community.
3.1 Types of Community Safety Orders
There are two types of School Community Safety Orders (Orders) that the Principal and other authorised persons can issue.
- Immediate Orders prohibit a person from entering or remaining on any school-related place and remain in effect for a maximum of 14 days.
- Immediate Orders can be used where urgent action is required to prevent harm from occurring (for example, when a teacher is about to be assaulted) and there is not enough time to make an Ongoing Order.
- Immediate Orders may be made verbally or in writing.
- Ongoing Orders can last for up to 12 months and prohibit a broader range of activity.
- Ongoing Orders must be made in writing.
3.2 Authorisation to Issue Community Safety Orders
Only ‘authorised persons’ can issue Orders under the Scheme. The College’s authorised persons are;
The Principal is authorised to issue Immediate School Community Safety Orders across the entire College and is the only person authorised to issue Ongoing School Community Safety Orders for the College. This authorisation also applies to any person who is formally acting in the Principal role.
Heads of Campus
Heads of Campus are authorised to issue Immediate School Community Safety Orders in respect of their own campus only. This authorisation also applies to any person who is formally acting in the Head of Campus role.
All authorised persons are required to undertake mandatory training provided by the State Government before they are able to issue orders under this policy.
The Principal, or other College authorised persons (refer 3.2 above), may issue a Community Safety Order under this policy in accordance with their level of authorisation (refer 3.2 above) and in line with the following guidelines.
4.1 Who Can Be Subject to an Order
Orders can be made for adults (18 years old or over), including;
- parents or carers,
- acquaintances, friends or partners of students (over the age of 18),
- former students (over the age of 18),
- former staff members or staff members from other schools, or
- third-party contractors engaged by the school.
Orders must not be made in respect of a person who is;
- under the age of 18 years,
- a student at the school, or
- a staff member at the school.
4.2 Considerations Before Issuing an Order
The College will take into account the following before issuing an Order;
Authorised persons must consider any vulnerability of which they are aware before making an Order. This might include the following people who, in certain circumstances, may be vulnerable;
- people who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander,
- people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds,
- people from refugee or asylum seeker backgrounds,
- people with disability,
- people experiencing family violence,
- people in out of home care,
- people from LGBTQI+ backgrounds, or
- people with serious drugs and/or alcohol dependence.
Authorised persons will take steps to provide a person who may be subject to an Order with the opportunity to raise any vulnerabilities. This can be done through the written submission form (this form can be used when giving notice of a proposal to make an Ongoing Order or where an Immediate Order has been issued).
If a vulnerability is identified, the authorised person is required to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to avoid any unintended exacerbation of existing vulnerabilities of the person subject to the Order.
4.2.2 Least Restrictive Means
Authorised persons will consider whether making an Order is the least restrictive means available to address the problem behaviour. ‘Least restrictive’ means the option that leaves the person with the most autonomy.
Authorised persons will therefore consider whether there are any alternative means available to address the behaviour. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis. An Order can still be made even if it is not the least restrictive option, providing that alternative options have been considered and the Order is still reasonably necessary.
Examples of other less restrictive options which may be taken before making an Order include;
- sending a letter or email to the person informing them of the seriousness of their behaviour and its impact on staff, students and the school community,
- directing the person to comply with the College’s Community Conduct Policy,
- requesting that all communications occur only in writing (to reduce verbal aggression),
- meeting with the person to resolve their complaint, or
- establishing a communication plan between the College and the person outlining acceptable methods of communication.
4.2.3 Impact on Child Safety, Wellbeing and Education
Authorised persons will consider the impact of the Order on the safety, wellbeing and educational opportunities of any children impacted. This includes any impacts on the child’s;
- continued attendance and engagement at school,
- mental health and wellbeing (for example, due to the knowledge that their parent is subject to an order), or
- physical safety and wellbeing, particularly if there is a risk of family violence.
4.2.4 Occupational Health and Safety Obligations
The College has obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, the workplace is safe and without risks to health.
Authorised persons will consider the health and safety impacts of the behaviour of the person on staff and/or other members of the school community, should an order not be issued, when considering whether to issue an order.
4.3 Immediate Orders
Immediate Orders prohibit a person from entering or remaining on any school-related place and last for a maximum of 14 days.
Immediate Orders should be used where a risk needs to be dealt with swiftly and there is insufficient time to undertake the normal processes for making an Ongoing Order.
Authorised persons should contact Victoria Police if issuing an Immediate Order results in violence or aggression.
4.3.1 Grounds for Issuing an Immediate Order
One or more of the following grounds must be met before making an Immediate Order;
- the person poses an unacceptable and imminent risk of harm to another person at the school or a member of the school community,
- the person poses an unacceptable and imminent risk of causing significant disruption to the school, and/or
- the person poses an unacceptable and imminent risk of interfering with the wellbeing, safety, or educational opportunities of students.
4.3.2 Conditions of an Immediate Order
An Immediate Order must include conditions which address the behaviour of the person subject to the Order. For example, an Order may;
- require a parent to immediately leave the classroom after dropping off their child each morning, or
- prohibit a person from entering school premises, subject to the condition that they may attend certain school events.
An Immediate Order can include specific actions the person can undertake to satisfy the Order, such as;
- participating in an alternative dispute resolution process,
- providing an apology, or
- retracting a statement.
4.3.3 Procedure for Issuing an Immediate Order
- Ensure the situation meets the grounds as outlined in section 4.3.1 above.
- Provide verbal notice of the intention to issue an Immediate Order where it is reasonable and safe to do so.
- Issue the Immediate Order either verbally or in writing.
- Immediate Orders may be made verbally because they deal with situations where there is an imminent risk of harm and swift action is needed to de-escalate the situation.
- If an authorised person verbally issues an Immediate Order they must give written notice of the order to the person it applies to as soon as practicable after making the verbal order.
4.3.4 After an Immediate Order is Made
As soon as possible after making an Immediate Order, the authorised person must consider whether to make an Ongoing Order or revoke the current order.
If there are grounds for making an Ongoing Order, the authorised person must make an Ongoing Order. If there are no grounds for making an Ongoing Order, then the authorised person must revoke the current Order. If an Order is revoked it is no longer applicable and the person against whom the Order was made is no longer required to comply with it.
An Ongoing Order may be made for longer periods up to a maximum of 12 months. An authorised person can make an Ongoing Order, regardless of whether an Immediate Order has previously been made in respect of the person.
4.4.1 Grounds for Issuing an Ongoing Order
To make an Ongoing Order, the authorised person must reasonably believe that at least one of the following grounds exists;
- the person poses an unacceptable risk of harm to anybody at the school or a member of the school community who is on school premises,
- the person poses an unacceptable risk of causing significant disruption to the school or school activities,
- the person poses an unacceptable risk of interfering with the wellbeing, safety, or educational opportunities of students,
- the person has behaved and is likely to behave in a disorderly, offensive, intimidating, or threatening manner to a member of the school community at the school, or
- the person has engaged and is likely to engage in vexatious communications with, or regarding, a staff member.
4.4.2 Conditions of an Ongoing Order
An Ongoing Order can include conditions which respond to or address the behaviour of the person subject to the Order. Ongoing Orders can prohibit a person from engaging in a wider range of behaviours than Immediate Orders (which only prohibit a person from entering, remaining on or being within a range of up to 25 metres of a school premises or any place where a school activity is taking place).
For example, an Order may;
- prohibit a person from entering or staying on school grounds or any place where a school activity is taking place (or within 25 metres thereof),
- prohibit a person from approaching a particular staff member,
- prohibit a person from telephoning or sending a message to a staff member, or
- prohibit a person from using or communicating via social media in relation to the school.
- Ongoing Orders may also contain conditions about;
- which part(s) of the school the person is prohibited from entering,
- how long the order will remain in force (maximum 12 months),
- whether there are any areas of the school or times when the order does not apply, or
- what action(s) need to be taken by the person to have the order revoked (e.g. an order may provide that it may be revoked if the person participates in dispute resolution processes, provides an apology, retracts a statement or participates in an assessment by an independent expert).
4.4.3 Procedure for Issuing an Ongoing Order
- Ensure the situation meets the grounds as outlined in section 4.4.1 above.
- Serve the person with the notice of the proposal to issue an Ongoing Order. Where possible, the authorised person will provide notice both electronically by email as well as by registered post.
- Consider any submissions from the subject to determine whether to proceed with issuing an ongoing order.
- a) The authorised person must provide the person at least 7 days (from the date the notice of the proposal to make an order is given) to make submissions on the proposed order.
- b) The authorised person must consider any submissions received from the person before deciding to formally issue the order.
- c) A request to make an oral submission instead of a written submission must be accommodated unless there is a good reason not to do so, such as if the person who has been issued with an order has been verbally abusive towards staff. Authorised persons should consider the risks to their health and safety when determining whether oral submissions can be made.
- d) The person may also request to nominate another person to make a submission or submissions on their behalf. The authorised person may also consider allowing the person subject to an order more time to make a submission if their vulnerability impacts on timeliness.
- Decide whether to proceed with issuing an Ongoing Order.
- The person must be advised in writing if a decision is taken to not issue an Ongoing Order.
- Where a decision has been made to issue an Ongoing Order, formal written notice of the order must be provided to the person it applies to as soon as practicable after the decision is made.
- If the person has a child enrolled at the school and an Ongoing Order is issued, then a communication and access protocol will be developed to minimise the impact of an order on parents’ involvement in their child’s education as well as on the child’s ability to access school.
4.4.4 After an Ongoing Order is Made
An authorised person may vary or revoke an Ongoing Order at any time. This includes (but is not limited to);
- varying certain conditions of an Order (for example, to enable parents to undertake school drop off and pick up),
- revoking certain conditions of an Order (for example, to respond to improvements in behaviour), or
- revoking an Order where the person has complied with the Order or demonstrated that they have understood the consequences of their conduct.
However, the following rules apply;
- ongoing Orders cannot apply to any future school that a parent might enrol their child in,
- an Ongoing Order only applies to one person, and
- an Ongoing Order can only remain in force for 12 months.
If an Ongoing Order is needed for longer, a new Order must be made.
4.5 Communication with Parents, Carers, and Guardians
When an order is made against a parent, carer, or guardian, an authorised person must consider how an Order might impact a child’s safety, wellbeing and educational opportunities.
The College will endeavour to ensure that there is minimal impact on a child’s education or wellbeing as a result of an Order being made.
For example, an authorised person will consider arrangements for;
- how the child will be escorted to or from school and school activities, or
- how the parent, carer or guardian may communicate with the school and be informed about the child’s education (for example, where a parent is prohibited from attending student review meetings).
The intention is to ensure that parents, carers, and guardians remain involved in their child’s education and that a child’s attendance at school and school activities and events is not prevented or limited because of the Order. The authorised person must advise the parent, carer, or guardian about these arrangements in writing as soon as reasonably practicable (for example, within 2-3 business days).
4.6.1 Internal Review
A person who is subject to an Ongoing Order may apply to the Principal in writing for an internal review of the authorised person’s decision to;
- make an Ongoing Order,
- vary an Order where the person does not agree to the variation,
- refuse a variation requested by the person, or
- refuse to revoke an Ongoing Order.
If a person makes an application for review, the Ongoing Order continues in force until the review is complete (or the Order expires).
The Principal will review the decision and the relevant facts in accordance with the College’s existing complaints and/or grievances policies and procedures as published on the College’s external website.
The person who is subject to an order will be afforded procedural fairness, including allowing the person to make submissions and be accompanied by a support person during the review process.
An internal review must be carried out as soon as practicable, but within 28 days of the application being made, subject to any agreed extension. If the Principal does not reach a decision within that timeframe, the Ongoing Order is automatically revoked.
At the end of the review, the College will provide a written statement to the person outlining;
- the outcome of the review (i.e. affirmation, variation or revocation of the original decision),
- the reason(s) for the decision, and
- the right to seek external review of the decision through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
4.6.2 External Review
As per 4.6.1 above, a person may appeal the outcome of an internal review decision by making an application to VCAT. Applications must be submitted within 28 days of the date of the school’s internal review decision.
5. Breach of this policy
Staff members should notify the Principal if they witness a breach of an Order (including a suspected breach).
If safe and appropriate to do so, the Principal will tell the person that they have breached the Order and allow the person to respond or explain their behaviour.
If the breach is a once-off or minor incident, then the College may decide to;
- make a written record of the non-compliance, or
- warn the person that they have contravened the Order and that repeated contraventions may result in the school deciding to take legal action.
- Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic)
- Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic)