Responding to Violent and Dangerous Student Behaviours of Concern

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

Role of the Principal Practice Leader (Education)

As part of the Special Needs Plan for Victorian Schools, a new Principal Practice Leader (Education) reporting to the Senior Practitioner (Disability) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has been appointed to work exclusively with the Department.

The Principal Practice Leader will:

  • examine and assess existing legislation, policies and guidelines;
  • advise the Department on how to improve and align policy and processes with best practice;
  • assess how the Department collects and reports on data;
  • advise on the need for professional learning and training;
  • identify trends and opportunities to reduce the use of restraint, using the Department’s data
  • provide reports summarising data and advice, including recommendations for how the Department and schools could improve approaches to challenging behaviours.

Therefore this guidance will be reviewed within 12 months of implementation.

For more information about the Principal Practice Leader, see: Principal Practice Leader Factsheet (docx - 699.71kb).

Occasionally, students may behave in a way that threatens the safety of themselves or others. Incidents involving violent or dangerous behaviour can cause distress for the students involved or witnessing the incident, their parents and staff members.

This guidance was developed to assist schools prevent the occurrence of violent and dangerous student behaviours of concern and how to respond should they occur. It aims to assist all Victorian government schools and should be read in conjunction with the Student Engagement and Inclusion Guidance, which provides advice, resources and strategies for schools on developing a Student Engagement Policy, promoting positive student behaviour and responding to challenging behaviour.

Students can sometimes behave in a way that is violent or dangerous. Examples of violent or dangerous behaviours of concern include but are not limited to:

  • self-injuring behaviour, such as hitting/kicking walls, head-banging
  • attacking other students or staff, including hitting, biting, kicking, hair pulling
  • throwing furniture or other objects at students and staff
  • a verbal threat of harm which you believe a student will immediately enact
  • running onto a road or near some other hazard.

Incidents of violent or dangerous behaviour may occur following a period of escalating behaviour or may occur without any notice. In some cases such behaviour may be associated with a student’s disability.

Interventions to prevent, de-escalate and respond to violent and dangerous student behaviours of concern can be broken into four categories:

This guidance includes the following sections:

  • Guiding principles
  • Legal obligations
  • Working with parents and carers
  • Prevention and early intervention
  • De-escalation
  • Incident intervention
  • Physical interventions
  • Response and recovery
  • Professional development

Use the links below go to the relevant section.

For a full list of resources see: Responding to Violent and Dangerous Student Behaviours of Concern Resources