One: Responding to an emergency


Critical Information

If a child has just been abused, or is at immediate risk of harm you must take reasonable steps to protect them. These include:

  • separating the alleged victim and others involved, ensuring both parties are supervised by a school staff member

  • arranging and providing urgent medical assistance where necessary by:
    • administering first aid assistance

    • calling 000 for an ambulance and following any instructions from emergency service officers/paramedics.

  • Calling 000 for urgent police assistance if the person who is alleged to have engaged in the abuse poses an immediate risk to the health and safety of any person (you should also identify a contact person at the school for future liaison with police)

  • Take reasonable steps to preserve the environment, the clothing, other items, and potential witnesses until the police or other relevant authorities arrive on the premises.

Ensuring Immediate Safety

If a child has just been abused, or is at immediate risk of harm you must take reasonable steps to protect them. These include:

  • separating the alleged victim and others involved, ensuring all parties are supervised by a school staff member
  • arranging and providing urgent medical assistance where necessary by:
    • administering first aid assistance
    • calling 000 for an ambulance and following any instructions from emergency service officers/paramedics

  • calling 000 for urgent police assistance if the person who is alleged to have engaged in the abuse poses an immediate risk to the health and safety of any person (you should also identify a contact person at the school for future liaison with police).

Preserving Evidence

Where an incident of suspected child abuse occurs at the school, you may need to take action to preserve any items that may amount to evidence of the abuse. Consider all of the following:

Environment

Do not clean up the area and preserve the sites where the alleged incidents occurred. Cordon off the relevant area/room/building and take reasonable steps to ensure that no one enters these areas.

Clothing

If sexual abuse/physical abuse is suspected you may also need to ensure that the person who has allegedly committed the abuse and the child who has allegedly been abused remain in their clothing and, if this is not possible, ensure that the clothes are not washed, are handled as little as possible, and stored in a sealable bag

Other Physical Items

If there are any other items that may amount to evidence (e.g. weapons, bedding, condoms), try and ensure that these things remain untouched.

Potential Witnesses

Reasonable precautions must be taken to prevent discussion of the incident between those involved in the alleged incident (including any other children who may have witnessed the incident). If the incident involves:

  • two or more students, a staff member should be allocated to remain with each student involved in separate rooms
  • a staff member, they should be asked to remain with a member of the school’s leadership team and be instructed not to discuss the incident with any staff/student/s carers/family members.