This Section

Emergency situations and critical incidents

If you think a student may be at risk of harming themselves or others, immediate action is needed. Follow your school’s emergency protocol and seek urgent professional help.

You can:

  • separate alleged victims and others involved
  • administer first aid
  • call 000 for urgent medical and/or emergency assistance to respond to immediate health or safety concerns
  • identify a contact person at you school for future liaison with police as required.

DET’s Four Critical Actions for Schools provides a protocol for responding to emergencies, incidents, disclosures and suspicions of child abuse.

DET’s Student Support Services can assist schools responding to critical incidents involving students, staff and school communities.

Making a referral to Foundation House

Children and young people can be referred to Foundation House whether they are newly arrived or have been in Australia for many years.

They are required to meet all of the following criteria:

  • Have a refugee or refugee-like background.
  • Have a history of torture and/or other traumatic events prior to arrival in Australia or be an immediate family member of such a person.
  • Be experiencing psychological or psychosocial difficulties believed to be associated with their experience of torture and traumatic events
  • Consent to receive our services (if under 18 years of age you MUST have the consent of parents/carers).
  • Do not pose an unacceptable risk to the safety of staff or other


When do students require a referral?

Not all students exhibiting trauma reactions and disclosing traumatic material require a referral to Foundation House.  Where problems are persistent and severely disrupt the student’s capacity to participate and learn, a referral to Foundation House may be helpful. You will need to complete a Schools Referral Form. If you have questions about making a referral, telephone (03) 9389 8900.

Interpreting and translation services

Schools should offer and use qualified (onsite or telephone) professional interpreters and translations when communicating with parents and carers who do not speak English.  Interpreting and translation services are available free to government schools if they fall within the established guidelines.

The Department Education and Training has a contract with VITS LanguageLoop to provide onsite and telephone interpreting services. Bookings for onsite interpreters can be made via the VITS LanguageLoop online booking facility.  VITS provides telephone interpreting services. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

See DET’s Interpreting and translation services policy.

Student health and wellbeing services

Government schools can access a range of health and wellbeing student support services. To learn more, see DET’s Health and Wellbeing Services. For newly arrived students, a refugee health assessment provides a starting point to address any existing health issues and introduce longer-term preventative health care. The Refugee Health Program provides a free service, and you do not need to make a referral.

See Translated information about health and wellbeing.

Enrolling students who are asylum seekers

In Victoria, any child of compulsory school age is entitled to enrol and commence at school, regardless of their visa status. Students who are seeking asylum (i.e. they have applied for a protection visa) are enrolled in Victorian Government schools as an international student but are not charged tuition fees. They can be enrolled and start immediately in government schools.

See DET’s International Student Visa Fee Table.