Potential Critical Incident - Preventative Action Guideline

Document Number000853
Date Approved4 June 2008

1.      Context

The University seeks to provide a safe environment for all staff, students and visitors. Where there are serious concerns over student or staff behaviour that is perceived as potentially threatening and/or dangerous, staff and students have the right to assistance and support.

This Guideline should be used in any situation where a student or staff member experiences fear and/or feels that their own personal safety may be at risk as a result of another student or staff member’s behaviour, or where a third party becomes aware of a potential threat of this nature. It is intended as an adjunct to the usual channels of communication, such as from staff member to supervisor. It also supplements the University’s Critical Incident Management Policy and Procedure and should be read in conjunction with those).

2.      Definitions

In the context of this document:

BRG means Behavioural Risk Group;

EAP means Employee Assistance Program;

ERMS means Enterprise Risk Management System within which risk information is contained and maintained;

health information means any information about the physical or mental health or disability of an individual;

IMS means Injury Management System;

personal information means any information which could disclose the identity of an individual;

threatening or dangerous behaviour  means any behaviour that causes a student or staff member to experience fear or to feel that their own personal safety or the safety of others may be at risk. The types of behaviour can be varied. They may for example involve a threat of violence; unwanted attention; bizarre remarks or stalking.

3.      Guidelines for Action

3.1.     Staff listed below will form the Behavioural Risk Group (BRG), which will meet on a regular basis to confer with each other about emerging potential risks from any threatening or dangerous behaviour amongst students and staff.

o              University Complaints Manager

o              Manager, Counselling Service

o              Medical Director, Health Service 

o              Deputy Academic Registrar, Student Support Services (chair)

o              Director, HRS or delegate

o              Dean of Students

3.2.   Any staff member who has serious concerns about the potential for a critical incident as a result of the behaviour of another staff member or student, or is notified of such concerns by another student or staff member should report the concerns confidentially to any member of staff on the BRG as well as to their immediate supervisor.

3.3.   The BRG will liaise with other appropriate staff (e.g. Manager, International Student Support; International Student Counsellor; relevant academic staff, University General Counsell, Director, Risk and Commercial Services) in order to:

o              seek further information;

o              determine the seriousness of the situation;

o              make an assessment regarding the appropriate immediate response;

o              confer with the VC (or the appropriate DVC if the VC is not available), with recommendations for a rapid or immediate response if required.

3.4.   If it is deemed that a rapid or immediate response is required, the VC or DVC will determine what action needs to be taken and may choose to consult with appropriate others in order to make this decision. Appropriate others may include those listed in Points i and iii above; other involved staff as necessary, and/or appropriate psychiatric advice if required.

3.5.     The VC or DVC will follow through with the course of action determined in Point iv. above and will inform other relevant staff of actions taken to enable appropriate follow-up to occur.

3.6.     If it is deemed that no immediate response is required, a written confidential report will be made by the BRG, to be kept on file in the Resolution Precinct.

3.7.     Records must be kept of all actions taken and reasons for such actions, at the time of the event or as close to that time as possible.

3.8.     The Complaints Manageent Office will be the central point for keeping records of such concerns. Information received will be kept confidential unless it is deemed that the safety of the student and/or others may be at risk.

3.9.     Incidents perceived by the BRG as constituting a risk or potential risk will also be reported to the Director, Risk and Commercial Services (with appropriate respect for privacy) and entered into the IMS and ERMS in order to build a picture of trends against risks.

3.10.   Privacy legislation concerning personal information and health information restricts the use or disclosure of that information between University members and beyond the University. However, when there is a serious and imminent threat to the life, health or safety of the individual or another person or a serious threat to public health or public safety, or where the behaviour is unlawful, it is possible to use and disclose personal or health information. When giving personal or health information in any of those circumstances, there should be a record made of what information was used or disclosed and which of those reasons applied at the time. University records are subject to Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA).

3.11.   Should a critical incident develop, the University’s Critical Incident  Management Policy 000828 and Procedure 000829  will need to be enacted immediately.

3.12.   Debriefing and support for staff and students involved will be made available through the University Counselling Service (students) and the Employer Assistance Program (EAP) (staff). The University Counselling Service may also assist with initial debriefing of staff in the short term where this is deemed necessary.

4.      Essential Supporting Documents

Critical Incident Management Policy 000828

Critical Incident Management Procedure 000829

Approval AuthorityVice-Chancellor
Date Approved4 June 2008
Policy SponsorDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Services)
Policy OwnerDirector, Corporate Services
Policy ContactDeputy Academic Registrar, Student Support
Amendment History

Updated FOI to GIPA provisions, 28 September 2010.

Amended Policy Owner 24 March 2010