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Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan - International Students

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This plan has been developed by the University's International Office as an adjunct to Southern Cross University's Emergency Procedures Plan to ensure the University's critical incident management procedures comply with the requirements of the ESOS National Code of Practice.


(2) To:

  1. provide a framework for managing a critical incident involving international students; and
  2. Comply with the ESOS act under Standard 6 of the National Code 2007.


(3) This plan applies to all University staff that work with International Students involved in critical incidents.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(4) For the purpose of this Plan:

  1. Critical Incident - is defined by the ESOS National Code as a traumatic event, or the threat of such (within or outside Australia), which causes extreme stress, fear or injury to international students at Southern Cross University. A Critical Incident can include but is not limited to:
    1. Natural disaster
    2. Drug and Alcohol abuse
    3. Domestic violence
    4. Racial motivated abuse
    5. Missing Student
    6. Student assault
    7. Student suicide attempt
    8. Student hold-up or robbery
    9. Acute illness (physical or mental)
    10. Student death
    11. Students in legal difficulties
    12. Chemical, radiation or bio-hazard spillage
    13. Fire, explosion, bomb threat
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Section 3 - Procedures

Part A - Content and Implementation

(5) The plan includes risk reduction measures, assigned responsibilities, critical incident management and reporting procedures and emergency contact details.

Part B - Responsibilities

(6) Plan Contact Officers:

  1. Ulrike Baker, Coordinator International Student Support Services
  2. Christine Martin, Manager, Study Abroad and Exchange
    1. International Office
      1. Ph: 02 6620 3876
      2. Fax:02 6620 3227
      3. Email:,

(7) Plan Manager:

  1. Director, International Office

Part C - Risk Reduction Measures

(8) The International Office is responsible for ongoing risk reduction activities in an effort to minimise critical incidents and the effects on students. These measures include;

  1. Education
    1. Information sessions regarding personal safety, road rules, security, fire safety, drug and alcohol are given to all new International Students. Students are also educated about on and off campus support services and groups that can assist and support in times of stress or crisis.
  2. Participation & Building Networks
    1. These groups include religious & spiritual groups, multicultural community groups, women's support groups and sporting organizations. The International Office actively encourages student participation with these groups.
  3. Staff Training
    1. International Office Student Adviser are required, and other student support staff are encouraged, to undertake staff development programs to prepare them to deal with critical incidents. Key training courses provided by the University are First Aid Certificate, The Accidental Counsellor and First Aid for Mental Health.
  4. Emergency Contacts
    1. All students are given business cards on arrival detailing emergency support and services contact numbers including 24 hour, seven days a week University emergency support contacts.

Part D - Designated Officers Responsibilities

(9) The immediate contact when an international student has been involved in a critical incident is the campus International Office Student Adviser (IOSA). The University Security Services has the emergency contact numbers of all key International Office staff and will alert them if necessary. The IOSA when made aware that a critical incident has occurred is responsible for an immediate and appropriate response. The IOSA will inform the Director, International Office, at the first available opportunity, that a critical incident has occurred.

(10) When necessary the Director, International Office will escalate the response by contacting senior University staff as required in the University Emergency Procedures Plan and arrange a critical incident team to respond to all ramifications of the incident.

(11) The critical incident team may include;

  1. Vice Chancellor
  2. Deputy Vice Chancellor
  3. Director, International Office
  4. International Office Student Adviser
  5. Head, Student Support (Counselling)
  6. University Lawyer
  7. Head, Safety and Security
  8. Head, Communications and Publications, and
  9. Other staff as necessary.

Part E - Response to Critical Incident

Immediate Response

(12) The IOSA assesses the risk to student, others and self and takes action to make the student safe from further harm.

(13) Where there is a risk of further harm to the student, harm to the IOSA, or other life or property the assistance of emergency services must be requested immediately.

(14) Arrange medical treatment as soon as possible if necessary, and provide immediate appropriate personal support, and other assistance reasonably required.

(15) Identify the full name and student identification number of the international student/s involved in the critical incident, if possible.

(16) Contact the Director, International Office who will advise on the need for further action.

(17) The IOSA is to make notes of key facts of the incident at the first available opportunity.

(18) The Director, International Office will notify the DVC, other relevant members of the University Executive, and request escalation of management of the incident if required.

(19) This phase is completed when the student is safe from further harm, in receipt of necessary immediate support and services, and in a stable care environment.

Secondary Response

(20) The IOSA responding to the situation should discuss the critical incident with the Director, International Office and make recommendations.

(21) The IOSA is to identify other interested parties who may need to be notified or may be affected by the incident and advise the Director, International Office who will advise on an appropriate communication and support response.

(22) Sensitivity to the student's wishes in terms of contact and notifying others must receive high priority where it does not conflict with statutory obligations placed on the University and staff.

(23) The IOSA is to arrange access to counsellors and/or pastoral care for students and staff affected, as required

(24) The Director, International Office is to establish an information point for students, family and others who have a legitimate interest in the matter.

(25) The Director, International Office, in conjunction with the IOSA, is to assess if emergency funds or other resources are required.

(26) The Director, International Office, in conjunction with the IOSA, is to make all necessary arrangements depending on the situation (e.g. extra security on campus, funeral arrangements etc.)

(27) The Director, International Office will consult with University Media Relations and the Legal Services at the first available opportunity to provide a briefing about the incident.

(28) The IOSA in consultation with the Director, International Office is to develop a concise Incident Recovery Plan with objectives, actions, responsibilities and timelines.

(29) The IOSA will make a full written report of the incident and response.

(30) This phase is complete when all affected parties have been notified and support services have been mobilised as required, necessary practical arrangements made, and an Incident Recovery Plan (IRP) developed and implemented.

Follow Up Response

(31) Continue implementation of the IRP until any further response is assessed as unnecessary.

(32) Review the implications of the incident for the student's academic studies and determine the need for alternative accommodations and implement a support plan if required.

(33) Update critical incident reports regularly until the response period is completed.

(34) Review the incident and identify implications for future responses. Develop plans and amend policy if necessary to prevent a recurrence of the incident or any shortcomings in the response.

Part F - Critical Incident Reporting

(35) The Student Adviser managing the critical incident is required to establish the facts and keep detailed records.

(36) These records must be kept on the students file marked confidential.

(37) These records may be used in the case of coronial enquiry, media interest and police.

(38) A template for record keeping is appended to this document.

Guidelines for making contact with next of kin

(39) Generally it is the student adviser's role to notify the next of kin of the incident with the consent of the student if applicable. The IOSA will discuss this with the Director, International Office before making contact. Consideration will be given to matters of privacy, any support the IOSA requires.

(40) Before calling it should be established if the next of kin is fluent in English, if not an interpreter will be required.

(41) Establish if there are any cultural or religious issues the student adviser need to be sensitive to in calling.

(42) When calling the IOSA attempt to establish the immediate support available to the person called.

(43) The IOSA should give the facts clearly and precisely.

(44) In the case of a critically ill international student, the IOSA should ensure the next of kin has control over issues such as life support and resuscitation

(45) In the case of a student death or serious accident the IOSA will contact the relevant consulate and discuss the respective roles and responsibilities, regarding contacting next of kin and repatriation of the deceased's body and effects. If the University is responsible for this the IOSA will ascertain the family's wishes in relation to burial and services.

Part G - Confidentiality and Privacy

(46) Permission must be sought from the student to disclose personal information as outlined in the Privacy Act except in the case that the information is disclosed to lessen or prevent a serious and imminent threat to the students' life, health or safety.

Part H - 24 Hour Emergency Contact Telephone Numbers

(47) Refer to the Emergency Services Information Table for details of the University Emergency Services, State Emergency Services, and Free Support Services.