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International Students Critical Incident Procedure

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) Melbourne Polytechnic has obligations under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (Cth) (the “ESOS Act”), which regulates the delivery of education and training courses to students who come to Australia to study on a student visa. Melbourne Polytechnic must have a documented procedure that details actions required to be taken in the event of a critical incident involving an International student.

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Section 2 - Scope

(2) This policy applies to new and continuing international students at Melbourne Polytechnic who hold an Australian student visa and all Melbourne Polytechnic staff with responsibilities for international students.

(3) Melbourne Polytechnic’s commitment to ensuring that critical incidents are managed effectively, compassionately, in a timely manner and that appropriate resources are available to respond to all aspects of a critical incident.

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Section 3 - Procedure

(4) The procedure acknowledges that in most cases international students do not have close family available to care and provide support to them in Australia. In responding to any critical incident involving an International student, Melbourne Polytechnic will ensure that ongoing support is provided to a student in need, that timely and regular information is relayed to families abroad, and comprehensive records are maintained.

(5) Melbourne Polytechnic will ensure all International students are advised of emergency contact details and clarify potential scenarios that are considered emergences, during orientation and induction sessions at the commencement of their studies.

(6) In the event of being notified of a potential critical incident, Melbourne Polytechnic will assess the incident to ascertain the level of emergency and determine whether the circumstances are such that they warrant any further immediate action.

Critical Incident Management

(7) Where a critical incident involving an International student is confirmed, a designated Response Officer within the International Office will coordinate, monitor and record the incident and ongoing management of the student/s involved.

(8) In responding to the critical incident, the Response Officer may activate any of the following protocols appropriate to the severity of the incident:

  1. coordination of instrumentalities involved, such as police, hospital and other emergency services;
  2. contacting the International student’s family/next of kin when appropriate;
  3. liaison with Embassies and Consulates to ensure contact with, and support for, the family in the student’s home country;
  4. provide guidance to staff about what information to give to students and other staff and when;
  5. identify staff and students most closely involved in the Critical Incident and where appropriate arrange group or individual counselling sessions, or referral to external agencies;
  6. provide assistance in arranging visit from next of kin when considered appropriate and necessary; or
  7. any other action deemed appropriate to support the critical incident.

Public Relations

(9) Where the circumstances of a critical incident involving an international student is considered to have some public relations implication, the Chief Executive (or Chief Executive nominated representative) is the only authorised person to speak to media representatives on behalf of Melbourne Polytechnic.

Records Management

(10) Melbourne Polytechnic will maintain a written record of any critical incident and remedial action taken for at least two years after the overseas student ceases to be an accepted student.

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Section 4 - Responsibility and Accountability

(11) Staff within the International Office are responsible for ensuring students are aware of Melbourne Polytechnic’s emergency contact details, assisting with any reported critical incident and maintaining appropriate records of all incidents.

(12) The Director Marketing is responsible for handling all media enquiries and communications relating to critical incidents involving International students in the first instance.

(13) The Vice President International Development, International Partnerships (International Office) is responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this policy, and will act as Melbourne Polytechnic’s Response Officer in managing and overseeing all critical incidents relating to International students.

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Section 5 - Supporting Documents and Templates

(14) Related Melbourne Polytechnic policies and procedures:

  1. International Student Studying on a Student Visa Policy.

(15) Related Legislation and Regulation:

  1. Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Framework
  2. Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021
  3. National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018
  4. Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015
  5. Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011.
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Section 6 - Definitions

(16) For the purpose of this procedure the following definitions apply:

  1. Critical Incident: means a tragic or traumatic event or situation or the threat of such, which affects, or has the potential to affect an International student, their family, members and/or other persons including staff and friends as defined under the National Code. Critical incidents include but are not limited to:
    1. missing students;
    2. severe aggressive behavioural episodes;
    3. major psychological or emotional distress, including threat of suicide;
    4. death, serious injury or any threat of these;
    5. natural disaster;
    6. incident or allegation involving actual or alleged sexual, physical or other abuse;
    7. drug or alcohol abuse;
    8. student arrested or detained; and/or
    9. other serious events.