Department of Education

Evaluation and Accountability

Evaluation and Accountability

Incident Reporting


Emergency and Critical Incident Management


 

Emergencies and critical incidents can vary significantly in impact and duration.
Some will be discrete and short in duration others may be protracted and last for days or weeks.
Effective emergency management involves coordinated actions based on line management principles and designated responsibilities. 

This will:

• reduce the likelihood of emergencies and critical incidents;
• minimise the impact on students, staff and site activities; and
• facilitate the return of the site to normal operations as soon as possible.

Management of emergencies and critical incidents will involve
consideration of:

• prevention and mitigation of;
• preparedness for;
• response to;
• recovery from; and
• review of emergencies and critical incidents.

The Department of Education (the Department) Principals or site managers are responsible for management of on-site and off-site school related emergencies and critical incidents. The intention is to minimise trauma and distress to students and staff and damage to property and to ensure the teaching and learning program is maintained or resumed.
 

AEIOU is the Department's approach to emergency and critical incident response.


A - Assess situation, call emergency services, and assist those in danger
E - Evacuate students, staff and visitors, if appropriate
I - Inform the regional office or central office
O - Organise resources, advise parents
U - Undertake recovery operations and return site to normal.

 

 
 

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Policies, Guidelines & Legislative Requirements

Policies

The Department has a number of policies to deal with critical incidents. The following two are most relevant.

This policy directs school, district and central planning and actions for the prevention of, preparedness for, response to and recovery from emergencies and critical incidents.

Emergency and Critical Incident Management

 

This policy requires the Department to manage its risks. It provides guidance on risk thinking and business continuity management by integrating risk identification, risk management and consistent reporting into everyday operations.

Risk and Business Continuity Management

 

Below are lists of Policies that relate to incident management.

  • Injury Management and Workers’ Compensation Policy
  • Schools Policy
  • Occupational Safety and Health Policy
  • Duty of Care for Students Policy
  • CEO Instruction: Weapons in Schools
  • Behaviour Management in Schools Policy
  • Child Protection Policy
  • Management of Asbestos Containing Materials in Schools and Other Workplaces
  • Guideline for Dealing with Prohibited or Controlled Weapons in Schools
  • Staff Conduct Policy
  • Exclusions Policy
  • Student Health Care Policy
  • HIV –AIDS and Hepatitis Policy
  • Visitors and Intruders on School Premises Policy
  • School Security Policy
  • Excursions Off School Site Activities

 

Guidelines

Dependant upon the incident type, there are a number of guidelines that may apply.

  • Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan Template
  • The Principals guide to bushfire
  • Protocols for Working with WA Police
  • Guidelines for First Aid in Department Workplaces
  • Design and Technology Hazard Identification and Risk Management Guidelines
  • Physical Contact with Students

 

Legislative Requirements 

Below are lists of relevant Legislation or Authority that relate to incident management.

  • Australian Standard 3745: Emergency Control Organisation and Procedures
  • for Buildings, 2002
  • Australian Standard 4360: Risk Management, 2008
  • Disability Discrimination Act, 1992
  • Emergency Management Act, 2005
  • Emergency Management Regulations, 2006
  • Industrial Relations Act, 1979
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act, 1984
  • Occupational Safety & Health Regulations, 1996
  • Public Sector Management Act, 1994
  • School Education Act, 1999
  • School Education Regulations, 2000
  • Western Australian Management Plan for Influenza Pandemic, 2008
  • Westplan Welfare, 2009

  

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Risk Assessment

Principals or site managers need to document the demographic, geographic and specific risk variables associated with the school.
 

This should be informed by the Risk Assessment performed in the school.
 

The Principal or site manager must:

  • identify on-site and off-site situations that have the potential to become emergencies or critical incidents affecting the site’s operations;
  • determine potential risks associated with particular situations;
  • use the Risk and Business Continuity Management policy to assess the potential risks and develop mitigation strategies; and
  • implement strategies to eliminate or reduce the likelihood of the occurrence of emergencies or critical incidents.

Link to this policy:

Risk and Business Continuity Management

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Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan

The Principal or site manager will develop and maintain an Emergency and Critical Incident management Plan.
In support of the Department of Education (DoE) Emergency and Critical Incident Management Policy, a template is available to assist DoE sites in developing an Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan that meets the requirement for:

Prevention
Preparedness
Response
Recovery


 

 

 

Link to this template:
Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan template
 

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What is an Emergency?

An event, actual or imminent, which:

  • occurs on or off site;
  • endangers or threatens to endanger life, property or the environment; and
  • requires a significant and coordinated response.


Examples of emergencies are:

  • fire
  • bomb threat
  • hazardous materials spillage
  • prolonged loss of a utility (e.g. water or power)
  • cyclone and floods.
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What is a Notifiable Incident?

  • An incident should be reported when any of the following criteria are satisfied:
  • Adversely affects or disrupts the safe and orderly operation of the school
  • Threatens the safety or wellbeing of staff or students
  • Has a high likelihood of traumatic effects
  • Is of a highly contentious nature
  • Is likely to result in adverse media attention
  • Involves a potential or alleged act of staff misconduct requiring reporting to the Standards and Integrity Directorate
  • Must be reported under federal or state government mandatory reporting guidelines
  • Involves other agencies invoking their legislative authority (e.g. arrest, search, issue of care order)
  • Needs resources that are not available in the region (e.g. media support, student services personnel from another region, advice or guidance from central office staff, security services)
  • Any incident categorised as a ‘Near Miss’ that may have resulted in a serious injury

Types of Notifiable Incidents
 

  • Injuries involving suspected broken bones, spinal, neck or head.
  • Any staff injury 
  • Death of a student, staff member or community member that has a close affiliation with the school
  • All child abuse allegations
  • Any drug or alcohol use on school property
  • Physical or verbal assaults involving students, staff or parent/caregivers
  • Intruders on school property
  • Medical emergencies such as anaphylaxis
  • Suspicious behaviour involving community members against students or staff (e.g. white vans)
  • Any theft, vandalism or burglary occurring on site
  • Any suspicious, prohibited or controlled object or substance
  • Any ‘near miss’ that may have resulted in a serious injury
  • Believed self harm or attempted suicide
  • Any sexual behaviour
  • Utility failure such as water and power
  • Improvement notices issued by WorkSafe
     
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The Online Incident Notification System (OINS)

The purpose of the Online Incident Notification System (OINS) is to provide a relatively simple, standardised and appropriately confidential mechanism for quickly notifying regional or central office of incidents.
 

Every school is required to report any incident as soon as practicable after an incident (preferably immediately) using the OINS.
 

Only the Principal or nominated delegate should submit reports.
 

Accurately reporting of incidents allows for the comprehensive analysis of information that can assist in:
• Informed strategic planning and decision making within the Department
• Providing accurate and consistent reports to parliament and other outside interest groups.
• Identify 'hot spots' and provide relevant assistance and support.
 

The OINS forms part of a coordinated response to managing emergencies and critical incidents. The incident controller (generally the Principal or site manager) is required to follow a sequence of actions that includes informing a superordinate office (education regional office) of an incident as soon as reasonably possible.
 

The OINS provides a 'Heads-up' notification to educational support staff that includes central and regional office when an incident has occurred.
It is not a 'case management system'.
 

All Principals are provided access to OINS automatically via HRMIS records.
Principals can allocate OINS access to their staff via DAM.
 

The Online Incident Notification System (OINS) can be found on the Department's Intranet and Portal homepages.
 

Location of OINS on the Department's Intranet homepage
OINS via intranet

Location of OINS on the Portal homepage
OINS via portal


 

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How incidents are categorised?

The Online Incident Notification System database broadly categorises emergencies and incidents under the three categories of:
 

  • Accident or Death
  • Behavioural
  • Disruption to School Routine

Each category then allows further clarification for an incident type supported by a series of questions to gain more information regarding the incident.

There is also the ability to provide a description of the incident by way of an additional information/comments free text area.

If there is uncertainty as to which incident type best describes the incident, either seek support from the Regional Education Office or contact the OINS Administrator on 92645112.
 

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What happens next?

 

 

Once the correct incident type has been selected and completed, pressing the submit button will:

  • Generate an email with an attached PDF document to the Principal/delegate who submitted the incident advising them of the successful entry.
  • Generate incident notification emails to both the Regional Education Office group and any central office business unit that is concerned with that incident type.
  • Trigger responses and processes within regional and central office business units.

 

 

Who’s notified of what?

Work Group Incident type
OINS Administrator All
Office of Director General
Schools
Principal Consultant
All
Media
Corporate Communication and Marketing
All
Standards and Integrity All
Statewide Services
Behaviour and Attendance
 

• Drugs/Alcohol
• Physical Assault, Intimidating/Threatening Behaviour, Contact
• Verbal Threat and/or Comment
• Other
• Suspicious Activity
• Suspicious/Prohibited/Controlled/Hazardous Object or Substance
• Communicable Disease
• Medical Emergency
• Disruptive Conduct

Statewide Services
Complex Learning and Wellbeing (Child Protection Support)
 
• Child Abuse
• Sexual

 

Security Strategic Asset Planning

• Fire
• Bomb Threat
• Intruder
• Natural Disaster
• Other
• Suspicious Activity
• Suspicious/Prohibited/Controlled/Hazardous Object or Substance
• Theft or Burglary
• Utility Failure
• Vandalism

• Violent Extremism Concerns

Employee Support Bureau

• Accident Resulting in Injury or Near Miss
• Communicable Disease
• Death
• Physical Assault, Intimidating/Threatening Behaviour, Contact
• Verbal Threat and/or Comment
• Other
• Improvement Notice

• Medical Emergency

• Suspicious/Prohibited/Controlled/Hazardous Object or Substance

Statewide Services
School Psychology Service

• Death
• Believed Suicidal Behaviour or Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI)

• Violent Extremism Concerns

Statewide Services
School of Special Educational Needs-Behaviour and Engagement (SSEN:BE)

• Physical Assault, Intimidating/Threatening Behaviour, Contact

• Disruptive Conduct

Legal/Insurance • Nil
Country High School Hostels Authority • All Residential College incidents
College of Agriculture • All College of Agriculture incidents
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Responsibilities


The Principal/delegate will:

Manage the initial incident and as soon as practicably possible record this within the OINS.


The Regional Executive Directors will:

Analyse regional data from the Online Incident Notification System and use this to develop improved prevention, preparedness and response strategies.


The Deputy Director General, Schools will:

Maintain the Online Incident Notification System and use this to plan improved prevention, preparedness and response strategies; and maintain a process for the system level coordination of the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery from significant emergencies or critical incidents which require Central Office support.
 

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Independent Public Schools

Independent Public Schools have more flexibility to set their own strategic direction and authority for day to day decisions, but they remain part of the public school system. Like all public schools, Independent Public Schools are obliged to comply with relevant legislation, industrial agreements and whole of government policies and initiatives.
 

This includes the Emergency and Critical Incident Management policy.
 

Further information regarding these responsibilities can be found at the link below.


Independent Public Schools Governance, Accountability and Responsibilities
 

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Procedures

The Principal or site manager will develop and maintain an Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan for the school site.

In support of the Department of Education (DoE) Emergency and Critical Incident Management Policy, a template is available to assist DoE sites in developing an Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan that meets the requirement for:

P - Prevention
P - Preparedness
R - Response
R - Recovery

Please refer to the template below for assistance.

Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan Template
 

The Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan will involve consideration of:

• prevention and mitigation of
• preparedness for
• response to
• recovery from
• review of emergencies and critical incidents.
 

 

Prevention and Preparedness

In order to develop the Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan, the Principal or site manager must perform a Risk Assessment.

Refer to the policy below.

Risk and Business Continuity Management

The Appendices provide Risk Report and Risk Assessment Summary spread sheets which can be used to select the situations for which emergency or critical incident planning is required.
 

Refer to Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan Template section 7 for a table of actions to prevent and mitigate the risk of emergency situations.
 

The Principal or site manager must confirm that the Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan of the site is:

• communicated to all staff
• publicly accessible for both inspection and use in the event of an emergency or critical incident
• sent to the Regional Executive Director at the regional education office so that important information is immediately accessible to those off-site to enable them to provide appropriate support
• implemented by staff trained for their roles in managing emergency situations;
• tested and reviewed (for example, evacuation drills, role plays or written scenarios) on at least an annual basis and, where necessary, after an emergency or critical incident
• modified in accordance with information gained from testing and actual experiences
• developed in consideration of the services provided by other agencies such as the WA Police, the Fire and Emergency Services Authority, the Department for Child Protection and the Department of Health, including mental health services.

The Principal of schools in bushfire prone areas must:

• Confirm that the Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan of the site requires practice evacuation drills prior to October and at least once per term during the bushfire season, October to March
• Review off-site evacuation plan to confirm at least two suitable options and seek confirmation from the Hazard Management Agency on relocation to these sites.
 

 

RESPONSE

The Regional Executive Director will facilitate appropriate support to a school experiencing an emergency or critical incident, including but not limited to:

  • assistance with the selection of the Incident Controller;
  • adoption of the role of Incident Controller if appropriate;
  • provision of regional education office school psychologist and Coordinator Regional Operations support as required;
  • assistance with inter-agency liaison as required; and
  • notification or possible request for support from Central Office.

The Incident Controller will respond to a particular emergency or critical incident in accordance with the actions outlined in the Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan.

The level of response and specific actions taken will be determined by considering:

  • the potential and likely impact of the emergency or critical incident on the school community; 
  • the timing of the incident; 
  • the extent to which the incident is site-specific or community-oriented;
  • the location of the emergency or critical incident; 
  • weather conditions;
  • the cumulative effect of other emergencies or critical incidents which have affected the site in the recent past;
  • the age and capabilities of the student population;
  • the social, cultural, lingual, economical, geographical and other community factors; and
  • the management role that other agencies play under legislature or policy.
     

As well as tailoring the nature and level of responses to the emergency or critical incident, the Incident Controller must also modify the responses as the situation changes and must recognise the varying needs of students and staff.
Refer to Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan Template section 2.
 

RECOVERY

Following an emergency or critical incident, the Principal or site manager will:

  • take appropriate actions to return the site infrastructure to normal;
  • develop and implement medium to long-term strategies in conjunction with regional education office school psychologist and Coordinator Regional Operations to identify and manage the ongoing social and psychological needs, and (in the case of students) the educational needs, of those affected;
  • modify specific procedures of the plan as determined by the operational debriefing; and
  • liaise with their Regional Executive Director and the Department’s Media Unit for media related matters and when preparing communications for parents.

The Regional Executive Director will facilitate the provision of regional education office support to a school in the process of recovery from an emergency or critical incident.


REVIEW

The Principal or site manager will:

  • organise an operational debriefing, as appropriate, to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of the Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan; and
  • maintain documentation associated with management of the emergency or critical incident.

 

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Following an emergency or critical incident

The Principal or site manager will act promptly to:

  • contact WA Police if the particular incident warrants it;
  • contact a parent or guardian of any student who has been harmed or threatened with harm;
  • report any emergency and critical incident to their Regional Executive Director;
  • liaise with their Regional Executive Director and/or the Department's Media Unit for:
    • informing students and staff about any potential danger
    • preparing communications for parents and the wider school community about any potential danger
    • media related matters
  • submit an entry using the Online Incident Notification System (OINS) , as soon as is reasonably possible.
     
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Working with WA Police


To help Police and to be prepared for emergencies and critical incidents, schools should:

  • develop a relationship with officers in their local Police station; and
  • be aware that Police can play a role, in certain circumstances, in relation to lockdown and evacuation.

Incidents requiring contact with WA Police include, among other things, attempted abductions of children and approaches to children by strangers. In these situations, it is imperative that parents are contacted as soon as a child reports the incident to the school.
If there is a potential danger from a situation or a person, parents and the wider school community should be informed promptly.
 

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Communications

Principals must contact the Department’s Media Unit (T: 9264 5821, 24 hour service) for advice about preparing communications in relation to an emergency or critical incident at their school.
This includes communications with parents and other stakeholders as well as communications with media.
The Department’s Media Unit will work with Police Media before approving any communications.
 

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Incidents Involving Child Abuse

Definition of 'child'

A child is defined in the Children and Community Services Act 2004 as 'under 18 years of age, and in the absence of positive evidence of age, means a person apparently under 18 years of age'.

Child abuse

The category of child abuse is used to report child protection concerns that MUST be lodged with the Department for Child Protection and Family Support (CPFS) such as physical, sexual, emotional and/or neglect and any incident that involves allegations of sexual misconduct by staff.

  • All allegations of child sexual abuse must be reported to the Mandatory Reporting Service (MRS) of the Department for Child Protection and Family Support (CPFS). Failure to make a report can result in a fine of up to $6 000. A verbal report made to the MRS must be followed by a written report. Failure to do so may result in a $3 000 fine.
  • Allegations of  child sexual  abuse must be accompanied with a Mandatory Report (MR). This can be faxed or preferably submitted online via CPFS's MRWEB service.
  • If a principal/teacher forms a belief that a child has been subjected to sexual abuse the incident should be raised as 'Child Sexual Abuse' accompanied with a MR to CPFS. When a report of child abuse or neglect is made to CPFS, the principal must also lodge an online incident notification.
  • Provide a general description of the grounds for making a report  but DO NOT provide identification details of the parties involved within the OINS. The CPFS referral (copy kept by school) or MR (copy not kept by school) receipt number will allow access to this information.
  • Keep in mind that what you write may become public at some future time.
  • Complex Learning and Wellbeing Child Protection   will be notified of the notification and may provide advice or assistance.

Disclosure

All staff have a role in the prevention, identification and reporting of child abuse.  This includes reporting disclosures made by children that indicate possible abuse. 

Legislation implemented from 1 January 2009 requires teachers and residential college managers who have formed a belief on reasonable grounds that child sexual abuse has occurred to make a mandatory report to the Mandatory Reporting Service (MRS) of the Department for Child Protection and Family Support (CPFS).

 

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Incidents Involving Sexual Matters

Incidents involving sexual matters can be confusing when having to lodge them within the Online Incident Notification System.

There are two categories within OINS where sexual matters can be recorded.

  • Child abuse - Sexual
  • Sexual

Child Abuse - Sexual

Definition of child sexual abuse
'Sexual abuse', in relation to a child, includes sexual behaviour in circumstances where:

  • the child is the subject of bribery, coercion, a threat, exploitation or violence
  • the child has less power than another person involved in the behaviour
  • there is a significant disparity in the development, function or maturity of the child and another person involved in the behaviour.

Sexual behaviour includes:

  • sexual penetration;
  • encouraging a child to perform indecent acts such as touching genitals, penis/digital penetration or oral sex ;
  • inappropriate touching;
  • exposure to sexual acts or pornographic materials and/or
  • using electronic means to procure or expose a child to indecent material.

Sexual

This category captures the following incident types:

  • sexual assault
  • sexual activity
  • sexualised behaviour
  • pornography
  • child exploitation material (Sexting)

These incident types are used where the behaviour does not involve a child abuse issue.

Note that a teacher offending against a student MUST be recorded using the 'Child Abuse' category, as must sexual behaviour where a child is subject to bribery, coercion, threats, exploitation and/or violence or where the child has less power and/or disparity in developmental function or maturity than another person involved in the behaviour.

A description of each of these sexual incident types follows:

Sexual assault

Under the Criminal Code in Western Australia there is no offence called 'sexual assault', the law actually specifies sexual related offences such as 'indecent assault' and 'sexual penetration without consent'.

The term 'sexual assault' has been used to generally describe these types of offences:

  • Crimes of a sexual nature relating to the lack of consent on the part of the victim. Submission to sexual assault is not the same as giving consent. Consent is the product of a conscious and informed decision-making process and involves willing agreement.
  • Broad definitions of sexual assault range from a pinch on the bottom to very violent acts of sexual intercourse.

Sexual activity

Sexual activity should be recorded when staff or students are caught behaving in sexual activity and the behaviour does not involve a child abuse issue.

'Student against student' alleged sexual behaviour MAY be reported using this category if it includes;

  • Sexual behaviour between children that is developmentally appropriate.
  • Sexual behaviour between consenting teenagers that has been socially sanctioned but is in breach of the school code of conduct or a Behaviour Management Plan but only if it meets the criteria of an incident.

Sexualised behaviour

Sexualised behaviour should be recorded when students demonstrate concerning sexual behaviour that is inappropriate for their age and is not considered to be child sexual abuse.

Pornography

Pornography which includes sexually explicit images.

Child exploitation material (sexting)

Child exploitation material or 'sexting' - as it is commonly known - in relation to a child (under 18 years) is the practice of producing and/or distributing and/or possessing sexually explicit images or messages (usually via mobile phone or internet services) In some cases ‘sexting’ may also be child sexual abuse. a sexual context).

 

Further information regarding Child Abuse

Refer to the Child Protection policy or visit the Complex Learning and Wellbeing (Child Protection) website det.wa.edu.au/childprotection.

They can also be contacted on 9402 6124 or email Child.Protection@education.wa.edu.au

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Incidents involving Suicidal Behaviour and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI)

Any evidence of suicidal behaviour or NSSI should be taken seriously and followed up appropriately.  At no time can staff maintain absolute confidentiality with a student who has disclosed suicidal behaviour or NSSI.

It is recommended that an Online Incident Notification is submitted for cases of suicidal behaviour and NSSI.   When submitting a notification:

  • provide a general description of the disclosure and the actions taken to support those impacted; and
  • do not provide identification of the parties involved.
  • if there has been a death that is believed to be by suicide then an OINS report needs to be submitted under the category ‘Death’ not ‘Believed Suicidal Behaviour and/or NSSI’.

The School Psychology Service Branch Team will receive the notification and will contact the relevant Lead School Psychologist to offer consultative support.  

Definitions

Suicidal Behaviour includes suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and suicide.  Suicidal ideation refers to an individual’s thoughts about ending their life while an attempt refers to an individual harming themselves with the intent to die but not resulting in death.  Suicide is a deliberate act to end one’s life resulting in death[i].

NSSI is considered to be a deliberate act to harm oneself without the intent to die and is aimed at reducing uncomfortable or distressing emotions.  The behaviour is often repetitive in nature.  NSSI is often referred to as self-harm.  Common methods of NSSI include cutting, scratching and/or picking skin, burning, pulling hair and hitting objects or oneself.  Injuries from NSSI can vary from very mild to severe.

It is difficult to determine without thorough assessment whether an individual’s behaviour is a result of suicidal behaviour or NSSI.  To add to the complexity, people who engage in NSSI can also engage in suicidal behaviour.

 

For further Information regarding Suicidal Behaviour and NSSI

For detailed information on how to identify and respond to disclosures of suicidal behaviour and NSSI consult the School Response and Planning Guidelines for Students with Suicidal Behaviour and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury.  These guidelines have been developed for schools to enable school staff to recognise, support and respond to suicidal behaviour and NSSI in children and young people.

Contact School Psychology Service Branch on 9402 6430

 

 

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Department Contact for More Information

OINS Administrator
Department of Education WA
151 Royal Street
EAST PERTH WA 6004

T: (08) 9264 5112
F: (08) 9264 4341
 

Email – incidents.oins@education.wa.edu.au
 

Incident Reporting
http://www.det.wa.edu.au/accountability/detcms/navigation/school-performance/incident-reporting/

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