Critical Incident Policy and Procedures

Revision Date: 28/02/2016 by Charter Australia


The purpose of this critical incident policy and procedure is to recognise the duty of care owed by Charter Australia to its students and to document the process for managing critical incidents if and when they occur.


Charter Australia recognises the duty of care owed to its students, and understands that planning for the management of a critical incident is essential. A critical incident is defined by the National Code 2007 as ‘a traumatic event, or the threat of such (within or outside Australia), which causes extreme stress, fear or injury’. These critical incident policy and procedures cover the action to be taken in the event of a critical incident, required follow-up to the incident, and records of the incident and action taken. Critical incidents are not limited to, but could include:
  • Missing students
  • Severe verbal or psychological aggression
  • Death, serious injury or any threat of these
  • Natural disaster
  • Issues such as domestic violence, sexual assault, drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Deprivation of liberty
  • Severe verbal aggression
  • Robbery
  • Death or serious injury
  • Suicide or threat of suicide
  • Natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes, floods, electrical storms)
  • Fire
  • Bomb or hostage threat
  • Explosion, gas or chemical hazard
  • Issues such as domestic violence, sexual assault, and drug or alcohol abuse (Note: Non-life threatening events may qualify as critical incidents.)


Responding to a critical incident:

Staff roles and responsibilities
  • Please note that the Student Support Officer is your official or first point of contact
  • Ph: 9955 5881 during business hours 30am-6.00pm
  • Staff, students or visitors involved or witnessing a critical incident after hours should immediately contact the CEO (Ming Chen) 0428 133 302.
The senior Charter Australia staff member present is the lead Charter Australia representative at the site until the arrival of the CEO. When the CEO arrives, he/she assumes responsibility for controlling the recovery from the incident. The CEO will ensure that debriefing occurs and support services are available to those affected by the incident. The key Charter Australia personnel responsible for the implementation of the critical incident procedures are:
  • Ming Chen (CEO)
  • Hao Liu (Operations Manager)
  • Wei Su (Academic Manager)
  • Trainers (various)
The CEO is responsible for the implementation of this procedure and to ensure that staff and students are aware of its application and that staff implement its requirements.
  • If you have a question or are confused about something, please talk to the Receptionist/ Student Support Officer at Reception or ph: 02 9955 5881
  • However, all Charter Australia staff members are responsible for reporting to the CEO a critical incident involving students
Any Charter’s staff member receiving news or information regarding a critical incident must contact the CEO as soon as practicable. If this is not possible then the most senior person available must be contacted and informed. If the incident is life threatening then a staff member must contact the relevant emergency departments (Ambulance, Police, Fire) on Emergency No. 000 to seek help at first as an immediate response and then inform the CEO about the  incident. On receipt of news or information regarding a critical incident the CEO or most senior person must:
  • Create for themselves a clear understanding of the known facts
  • If an emergency exists contact the relevant emergency services by phoning 000
  • If translators are required contact Translating and Interpreting Service by phoning 131 450
  • If counselling services are required contact Life Line on 131 114
  • Plan an immediate response
  • Plan ongoing strategies
  • Allocate individual roles/responsibilities for ongoing tasks.
Based on an evaluation of the critical incident the CEO or most senior person must, where appropriate, implement the following actions:
  • Contact next of kin/significant others
  • Inform Charter’s staff and students
  • Prepare a guideline to staff about what information to give students.
  • Prepare a written bulletin to staff and students if the matter is complex.
  • Brief staff and delegating a staff member to deal with telephone/counter inquiries.
  • Manage media/publicity
  • Identify students and staff members most closely involved with the incident and ensure they are offered support and counselling
  • Arrange a time and place for an initial group/individual debriefing session with Counsellor/s
  • Arrange access to emergency funds if necessary.
  • Record the incident and the following key details to include:
    • The time of the incident
    • The location and nature of the incident
    • The names and roles of persons directly involved in the critical incident
    • The action taken by Charter including any opportunities for improvement
    • The organisations and people contacted by Charter.

Ongoing Follow-up

  • identify any other persons who may be affected by the critical incident and provide access to support services
  • provide accurate information to students and staff
  • arrange a memorial service and/or special chapel service as appropriate
  • maintain contact with any injured and affected parties to provide support and to monitor progress
  • monitor students and staff for signs of delayed stress and the onset of posttraumatic stress disorder; refer to specialised treatment as necessary
  • evaluate critical incident management
  • plan for and be sensitive to anniversaries
  • manage any possible longer term disturbances e.g. inquests, legal proceedings
  • notify relevant departments within the college which may need to follow-up student records and;
  • attend to personal effects of affected student(s) in the case of prolonged severe illness or death.

Notification of government organisations

The ESOS Act 2000 requires Charter Australia to notify the Australian Government (currently Department of Home Affairs) as soon as practical after the incident. The Educational Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) requires Charter Australia to notify Department of Education and Department of Home Affairs as soon as practical after the incident and in the case of a student's death or other absence affecting the student's attendance, the incident will need to be reported via the Provider Registration and International Student Management System (PRISMS). When an international student dies or sustains serious injury, Charter Australia may be required to assist the student's family. This may include:
  • hiring interpreters
  • making arrangements for hospital/funeral/memorial service/repatriation
  • obtaining a death certificate
  • assisting with personal items and affairs including insurance issues
  • assisting with visa issues
Useful Phone Numbers
Group Phone Number
NSW Police Life-threatening or time critical emergency 000
Non-life threatening incident requiring Police response 131 444
North Sydney Police Station 02 9956 3199
Ambulance 000
Fire and Emergency Services Authority 000
State Emergency Service 132 500
Hospital (Royal North Shore) 02 9926 7111
Poisons Information Centre 131 126