The Department for Education, Children and Young People (the department) has a non-delegable duty of care for all students who attend government schools.  This duty extends to cover all students at schools and colleges who are accommodated in hostels around the State.  This responsibility extends to periods outside the normal school hours. 

In considering Duty of Care, reference should also be made to the Department’s Duty of Care for Students on Departmental Educational Sites Procedure. Duty of care is a common law concept that refers to the duty imposed by law to take care to minimise the risk of harm to another. In the school/college context, the department has a duty to take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which could expose students to a reasonably foreseeable risk of injury, including matters that impact on the emotional and physical well-being of students. Examples of risks may include bullying, harassment, cyber bullying, cultural insensitivities, physical or sexual abuse. 


The department is implementing the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Historical Sexual Abuse recommendations that deal with making Institutions child safe.   There are 10 standards and they can be found on the Royal Commission website. 

As part of our changes the department is implementing a system of “Contact Officers” for all hostel students. 

This means that all students, parents and carers will be provided with the name of their Contact Officer and their contact details as part of their normal hostel enrolment process. 

The Contact Officers will be senior people within the department and are linked to the individual student’s school or college that they will be attending.  Hostel Supervisors will also have the contact officer details which they can provide to a student if they have misplaced them. The Hostel Supervisors will also report to the contact officer any duty of care issue that a student raises with them directly. 

The Contact Officer will have access to the full range of services within the school, college and the department for resolving duty of care issues and they will work with the affected students on an agreed plan to resolve all the issues. 

It is important to note that the Contact Officers will not be dealing with any maintenance, infrastructure, food issues or permission to leave the hostel out of hours.  All these matters will be dealt with, as is currently the case, by the hostel supervisor through the normal processes. 

The department and the hostels are committed to provide all students in hostels a safe, supportive and nurturing environment which contributes to the achievement of a scholastic outcome that will enable all students to achieve their ultimate goals.