Policy Corporate Governance Domestic and Family Violence (Student Support) Procedure

Domestic and Family Violence (Student Support) Procedure

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This Procedure provides guidance to students on the support mechanisms available at James Cook University for those impacted by domestic or family violence. It outlines the processes and support structures at JCU that will ensure a safe and supportive work and learning environment free from violence in any form and against any person and where:

  • students experiencing family or domestic violence are not disadvantaged or discriminated against for disclosing their situation;
  • reasonable adjustments are made to provide support in work and/or study for students to feel safe and to remain employed and/or enrolled in study; and
  • guidance and assistance is provided to all levels of management and staff on how to identify, respond and refer students experiencing domestic or family violence to the appropriate support networks either within or outside the University.


This Procedure applies to all students studying at JCU within Australia.


Except as otherwise specified in the Domestic and Family Violence Policy, the meaning of terms used are as per the Policy Glossary.


Are actions that JCU can take to support a Student has been subjected to domestic or family violence to enable them to continue studying, working, living and socialising at JCU. Accommodations will be developed on a case by case basis, and may include, for example, implementing safety measures, changes to class scheduling, changes to assessment, changes to allocation of Student on-campus accommodation or short-term emergency Student housing, changes to reporting lines (including HDR supervisory arrangements), or temporary or long-term work or workplace reassignment. Accommodations may be provided to a person regardless of whether the person who perpetrated the violence is associated with JCU. Accommodations are focussed on ensuring a person’s wellbeing.

Support Person

A support person is a person to assist, accompany and support a person in their participation in matters relating to this procedure.  A support person may be a friend or family member of the student, or a Student Advocate of the JCUSA for example.


1.  JCU’s Commitment

1.1   This Procedure ensures that students who experience, or are affected by, domestic or family violence are responded to appropriately, quickly, positively and in confidence.

1.2   The University will co-operate with all police/legal orders protecting students experiencing domestic or family violence.

1.3   In the case where there are cross-reports of domestic or family violence involving two members of the University community, the University will make the reasonable changes necessary to support and maintain the safety of both parties.

1.4   The University will not tolerate the misuse University resources to engage in behaviour that threatens, harasses, victimises or abuses another person. If a student is observed, or suspected of, perpetrating domestic or family violence in, or from, the workplace or learning environment, this needs to be reported to the Director Student Services.

2.  Student Obligation

2.1   Students have an obligation to comply with JCU’s Work Health and Safety policies, procedures and guidelines, including, and not limited to the: Domestic and Family Violence Policy; Information Privacy Policy; Work Health and Safety Risk Management Procedure; Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy. In addition, all students have an obligation to conduct themselves in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. Students found to have breached such obligations may be subject to the University's disciplinary procedures.

3.  Requesting support

3.1   A student experiencing domestic or family violence can elect to contact the following persons to discuss their situation and access support:

3.1.1 an academic, or a professional and technical staff member;

3.1.2 an Equity Contact Officer;

3.1.3 Student Equity and Wellbeing staff;

3.1.4 JCU Security; or

3.1.5 JCU Student Association Advocate and Welfare Officer.

3.2   Students may request a support person to attend any meetings within JCU in relation to matters of domestic or family violence.

4.  Confidentiality and Non-Victimisation

4.1   All staff involved in supporting a student experiencing domestic or family violence must treat the matter as confidential. To protect the safety of others or as agreed with the student, supporting staff must not discuss the matter with other staff, students or people outside the University, unless there is a legal obligation to do so.

4.2   A student who discloses that they are currently experiencing, or are affected by, domestic or family violence, or has previously experienced or has been affected by, domestic or family violence will be treated fairly in terms of their ongoing study, placement activities, or other JCU requirements when impacted as a result of that disclosure.

4.3   Any person who raises genuine concerns about students experiencing, or affected by, domestic or family violence will be treated fairly and confidentially.

4.4   Any personal information that is collected or used or stored or accessed in the course of this Procedure must be done so in accordance with the Information Privacy Policy and Records Management Policy. No information is recorded on a student file without the Student’s express permission.

5.  Responding to a Disclosure and Managing Requests for Support

5.1   Any individual (staff member or student) at JCU receiving a disclosure regarding domestic or family violence will:

5.1.1 respect the right of the disclosing student to make their own decisions regarding their personal affairs and avoid judgement;

5.1.2 bring the Domestic and Family Violence Policy and this Procedure to the attention of the affected student; and

5.1.3 refer the student to the Manager Student Equity and Wellbeing to offer support.

5.2   The Manager, Student Equity and Wellbeing will;

5.2.1 offer support to the student (as per clause 6 onwards);

5.2.2 offer support to any affected colleagues or students, by referring them to the University's Student Wellbeing and Counselling services or Employee Assistance Program as appropriate; and

5.2.3 work directly with the student and other areas of the University to coordinate the support provided to the student by the University.

5.3  Academic Heads are responsible for:

5.3.1 offering support to students as per clause 6-9 of this Procedure;

5.3.2 providing advice to students about the University's Wellbeing and Counselling Services;

5.3.3 seeking advice as necessary from the Manager, Student Equity and Wellbeing;

5.3.4 being familiar with JCU’s policies and procedures supporting people who may be experiencing domestic or family violence and participating in any relevant training provided by the University, and

5.3.5 ensuring that all personal information concerning the student's circumstances is used solely for the purpose of assessing the student's needs and determining and applying the appropriate support mechanisms; and is otherwise kept confidential as per clause 4.4.

Types of Support Available to Students

6.  Support measures

6.1   The Manager, Student Equity and Wellbeing, in consultation with other relevant areas of the University (such as JCU Security, the Academic Head, JCU Legal and the Chief of Staff), will consider a range of accommodations that can be made to support a student experiencing domestic or family violence including, but not limited to:

6.1.1 academic changes to facilitate ongoing study, which may include applications for special consideration; leave of absence, deferrals and/or withdrawal (see clause 7);

6.1.2 arrangements regarding attendance;

6.1.3 changing tutorials/lectures (where available and reasonable);

6.1.4 changes to a student email address;

6.1.5 blocking particular email contacts or telephone numbers;

6.1.6 assistance from JCU Security while on campus, or arriving or departing campus as necessary;

6.1.7 safety provisions, support and accommodation where reasonable for students on placement, field trip or other off-campus JCU activity; and

6.1.8 any other reasonable provisions determined on a case by case basis, such as advice, information and referrals to appropriate support agencies.

7.  Supporting Documentation

7.1   When requesting support under this procedure, a student may be required to provide supporting documentation to the Manager, Student Equity and Wellbeing, and Academic Head, such as:

7.1.1 a medical certificate or letter from a doctor;

7.1.2 a letter from a lawyer or a court document;

7.1.3 other relevant agency or counselling documentation (such as a family violence support service); or

7.1.4 a police report.

8.  Academic accommodations

8.1   A request for academic accommodation can be submitted to the student's Academic Head by a student, or the Manager, Student Equity and Wellbeing on their behalf.

8.2   The Academic Head will take into account the individual's situation in consultation with the student and the Manager, Student Equity and Wellbeing in assessing and determining any academic accommodation.

8.3   Academic accommodation may be granted for a range of reasons, including but not limited to:

8.3.1 seeking medical, legal and financial assistance;

8.3.2 attending medical/counselling appointments;

8.3.3 attending court appearances;

8.3.4 organising alternate care or education arrangements for children or other people for whom the student has carer responsibilities; and

8.3.5 organising alternative accommodation/living arrangements.

9.  Risk Assessment and Campus Safety Plans

9.1   When a student discloses a concern regarding domestic or family violence, strategies to ensure the safety of the student and other members of the University community may be required. These strategies will be developed with input from the Manager, Student Equity and Wellbeing; the Academic Head; and the Manager, Campus Safety and Security. This may include the development of a Risk Assessment and Campus Safety Plan.

9.2   When developing a Risk Assessment and Safety Plan the following must be considered:

9.2.1 the Plan must be consented to by the affected student;

9.2.2 the Plan must be reviewed with the student on a regular basis (and may be adjusted at any time in consultation with and by agreement from the student);

9.2.3 the affected student's emergency contact details must be kept up to date;

9.2.4 all reasonable attempts should be made to ensure the affected student is able to participate in ongoing study;

9.2.5 compliance with Police/Court orders (such as but not limited to Temporary Protection Orders, or Domestic Violence Orders);

9.2.6 the Plan may require consultation with other areas within the University which will be coordinated by the Manager, Student Equity and Wellbeing on a confidential basis, and

9.2.7 what appropriate and timely action will be taken if the affected student does not respond to contact and there are reasonable concerns for their safety.

9.3   If a perpetrator of domestic violence attends upon and/or disrupts the workplace or learning environment at JCU (whether in breach of a Police/Court Order or not), any impacted student or staff member must:

9.3.1 contact JCU Campus Safety and Security by dialling 15555 or 1800 675 559 as applicable and requesting assistance (and immediate police attendance as necessary);

9.3.2 contact the Manager, Student Equity and Wellbeing and advise of the incident;

9.3.3 document any incident as soon as possible and send it to security@jcu.edu.au; and

9.3.4 refer any staff or students involved in or witnessing the incident to the Employee Assistance Program or Student Counselling as appropriate.

9.4   The Manager Student Equity and Wellbeing will consult with the Chief of Staff and Manager, Campus Safety and Security for advice regarding personal safety and security to review and assess any additional perceived or potential security risks as a result of the breach; and to implement and ensure that appropriate security management processes are put in place and regularly reviewed.

Support Services and Information

10.  Internal Support Services

10.1  There are a number of internal student support services available to students who are impacted by domestic or family violence, including:

10.2  JCUs Student Equity and Wellbeing provides free and confidential services that are available to all enrolled students, including Counselling Services. JCU counselling sessions can be face to face, on the phone or via Skype and between the hours of 9am–4pm. Emergency walk-in appointments are available and Student Equity and Wellbeing Staff can provide assistance, advice and referrals to specialist services. Contact details are:

10.3  JCU Student Association Advocates. Students are able to contact a JCU Student Association Advocate and Welfare Officer who can provide free information, advocacy and referral on a range of issues relating to students. Contact details are:

  • Townsville or Cairns  1800 330 021

11. External support services and information

11.1  There are also a number of external support services available to an individual impacted by a situation of domestic or family violence.

  • North Queensland Domestic Violence Resource Service provides a range of crisis intervention, counselling, court support, face to face assistance and group programs for victims and perpetrators of domestic and family violence (contactable on 4721 2888).
  • Cairns Regional Domestic Violence Service offers counselling, court support and community training (contactable on 4033 6100).
  • DVConnect is a 24 hour Domestic Violence helpline. DVConnect’s Womensline (1800 811 811) is Queensland’s only 24 hour, seven days a week crisis response telephone helpline offering free, specialist crisis counselling, as well as information, referrals and support to people living with domestic and family violence. DV Connect’s Mensline (1800 600 636) is a free, confidential telephone crisis counselling, referral and support service for men who experiencing domestic violence or who are using violence in their relationships.
  • 1800Respect is a national sexual assault, and domestic and family violence counselling service. This national 24 hour, seven days a week confidential service provides support for people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing sexual assault and/or domestic and family violence; friends and families; and workers and professional supporting someone experiencing, or at risk of experiencing sexual assault and/or domestic and family violence.

Related policy instruments

Domestic and Family Violence Policy

Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy

Digital Technologies Acceptable Use Policy

Social Media Policy

Student Code of Conduct

Related documents and legislation

Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012


NOTE: Printed copies of this policy are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy DomainCorporate Governance
Policy Sub-domainCulture

Policy Custodian

Vice Chancellor

Approval Authority


Date for next Major Review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation Date

Description of changes





Procedure established to support Domestic and Family Violence Policy

Chief of Staff

Contact person:

Chief of Staff


Domestic Violence, Leave, Safety