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Overview of the School Community Safety Order Scheme

An overview of the Scheme including the types of orders, who it affects and other essential information.

The School Community Safety Order Scheme

Schools are positive places of learning and work where everyone has a right to a safe and healthy environment. Everyone in the school community plays a shared role in being respectful. Sometimes parents, carers or other adults behave aggressively towards staff, students or others in the school community. When this happens, it can affect the physical and mental health, safety and wellbeing of others.

The Education and Training Reform Act 2006External Link was amended by the Education and Training Reform Amendment (Protection of School Communities) Act 2021External Link to set up the School Community Safety Order Scheme (Scheme). The Scheme will allow principals and other authorised persons in Victorian schools to make School Community Safety Orders (Orders). Orders can stop or limit parents, carers and other adults who behave in harmful, threatening, or abusive ways towards people in the school community.

Watch the video for a short overview of the Scheme:

Orders can set limits on how a person can behave around certain people, at certain times, at the school or other places where school activities happen. The Order may also include special exceptions like times when, or areas where, the Order does not apply.

Orders are intended to be a last resort option where there are no other less restrictive options available. If an Order is made to a person who has a child at the school, the school must make sure that the child can continue to go to school and allow the parent or carer to remain involved with their education.

Types of Orders

There are two types of Orders that principals and other authorised persons can make to stop or limit different types of behaviours – Ongoing and Immediate Orders.

Ongoing School Community Safety Orders

Ongoing Orders may be in place for up to 12 months and can limit:

  • entering or staying on school grounds or a place where a school activity is taking place
  • approaching or making another person approach a staff member(s) within 25 metres.
  • contacting any staff member or class of staff members
  • using or communicating on a communication platform owned, controlled by, or set up in relation to the school. For example, the school’s Facebook page.

Ongoing Orders can be made if an authorised person reasonably believes that a person:

  • presents an unacceptable risk of harm (for example, hurting, threatening to hurt or verbally abusing someone) to:
    • any person within 25 metres of school grounds or
    • a member of the school community within 25 metres of any other place where there is a school activity taking place. This includes if the member of the school community is at that place for a reason that is connected with the school
  • presents an unacceptable risk of significantly disrupting the school or its activities. For example, someone who refuses to leave the classroom, which prevents a teacher from being able to teach the class
  • presents an unacceptable risk of interfering with the wellbeing, safety or education of the students enrolled at that school. For example, someone who frequently comes onto school grounds to talk to a student against their wishes, which makes them feel anxious and distressed
  • has behaved and is likely to behave in a disorderly, offensive, intimidating or threatening way to someone in the school community within 25 metres of either:
    • school grounds or
    • any other place where a school activity is taking place
  • For example, a neighbour swears at students and staff members as they enter and leave school grounds for many weeks, and it is likely that they will continue to do this.
  • has communicated and is likely to communicate in a way that is unreasonable with, or about, a staff member at the relevant school. For example, a person writing harmful or disrespectful things about a staff member on the school’s Facebook page.

Immediate School Community Safety Orders

Immediate Orders stop a person from entering or remaining on any school-related place of the relevant school. They can be in place for up to 14 days.

Immediate Orders can be made orally or in writing where an adult who is not a staff member or a student at the school presents an unacceptable and immediate risk of:

  • harm to another person on school premises
  • harm to a member of the school community at a school-related place, if the member of the school community is at that place for a reason that is connected with the school.
  • significantly disrupting school activities or
  • interfering with the wellbeing, safety or educational opportunities of the school’s students.

Who can an Order be issued to?

Orders can be made to adults (18 years old or over) who are not staff members or students of the school where an Order is proposed to be made. This may include:

  • Parents or carers of students of the school
  • Acquaintances, friends or partners of students (if 18 years old or over)
  • Former students (if 18 years old or over)
  • Former staff members or staff members from other schools
  • Third party contractors engaged by the school.

Consequences for breaching a School Community Safety Order

The Secretary (for government schools) or a person appointed by a non-government school may apply to 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 websiteExternal Link to find out how much this amounts to)
  • requiring the person to follow the Order
  • requiring the person to take specified action to follow the Order
  • requiring the person to do anything else that the Court thinks is appropriate.

A person who breaches an Order will not be jailed, receive a criminal record or a criminal penalty. This is if that behaviour itself does not amount to a criminal offence.

Appealing an Order

A person subject to an ongoing order can apply to the school that made the Order for an internal review. The internal review may review the authorised person’s decision to:

  • make the order
  • change the order
  • refuse to change the order when requested by the subject or
  • refuse to cancel the order.
  • Internal reviews are free of charge.

If the subject of an ongoing order disagrees with the outcome of an internal review, they can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative TribunalExternal Link for an external review.

More information

The Scheme is part of a suite of measures to create and support a safe and respectful learning environment within Victorian schools.

Reviewed 29 November 2022

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