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Policy: Student critical incident


The policy acknowledges the need for the University to have clear decision-making and processes for managing and reporting on student critical incidents to ensure that each case is managed effectively, consistently, compassionately, and expeditiously.


This policy provides staff, students and visitors with guidance as to the appropriate action to be taken in the event of a critical incident that occurs on or off campus at any time that involves enrolled students of the Australian National University.


This policy applies across the University. The policy does not cover students taught through off-shore partnership arrangements only where those agreements specifically make provision for the management of critical incidents.

Policy statement

  1. The University asserts its reasonable support for students, staff and, where appropriate their families, who may be affected by a student critical incident leading to death, injury or the inability to undertake research, teaching, study or administration.
  2. A ‘critical incident’ is a traumatic event, or the imminent threat of such (within or outside Australia), which causes extreme stress, fear or injury. A critical incident may include:
    • Death
    • Attempted suicide
    • Serious injury, life-threatening illness, and drug or alcohol overdose
    • Sexual and/or physical assault, domestic violence, or crime-related incidents
    • Missing student
    • External emergencies (e.g., infectious diseases, war, coup) and natural disasters
    • Serious threats of violence to students and/or staff
    • Mental health issues impacting on safety of self and others
    • Other traumatic events or serious threats
  3. Overseen by the Registrar (Student Life), the University’s response will be adapted, within the parameters of this policy and the Privacy Policy, to meet the needs of each incident.
  4. The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) permits the University to disclose personal information about someone to a party outside the University where, inter alia:
    • a person consents in writing to their personal information being disclosed; or
    • the University believes on reasonable grounds that the disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of the individual concerned or of another person.
  5. This policy ensures compliance with the Education Services for Overseas Students (Act) 2000 (ESOS Act) in relation to critical incidents involving international students.
  6. In the event of a student critical incident on campus, this policy will be read in conjunction with Emergency response procedure and the Reporting work health and safety hazards and incidents at ANU procedure.

Updated:   28 February 2018 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team