AHN Critical Incident Policy

AHN Critical Incident Policy

Note: This policy is subject to change at any time. Please check all AHN Policies on a regular basis for updates

Document Overview:

This document sets out the definition and procedures for Australian Homestay Network (AHN), 24/7 provider, AHN Account Managers, staff and consultants to follow in the event of a critical incident involving a Guest or Guests placed in homestay by AHN.

The role of AHN with regard to critical incident management is to provide support to aid education providers and homestay Hosts in compliance matters. 


This will:

  • reduce the likelihood of emergencies and critical incidents;
  • minimise the impact on Guests, staff and Hosts; and
  • facilitate the return of the placement to normal operations as soon as possible.

Management of emergencies and critical incidents will involve consideration of:

  • Prevention and mitigation of;
  • preparedness for;
  • response to;
  • recovery from; and
  • review of emergencies and critical incidents.

AHN takes responsibility for the management of emergencies and critical incidents. The intention is to minimise trauma and distress to Guests and Hosts and damage to property and to ensure the relevant stakeholders are informed and involved in the management of critical incidents.

1. Definition

The clinical definition of an “Emergency” is defined as a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The event is disruptive to the placement and requires intervention, but does not classify as a “Critical Incident”.

Some examples of emergencies to which the AHN community may have to respond include:

  • Threat of damage to property
  • Threat or potential harm to person/s
  • Possibility of a flight risk (Under 18+)
  • Accusations of Theft
  • Depression or anxiety

The clinical definition of a “critical incident” is defined as an event that causes individuals to experience a strong emotional reaction that interferes with their usual coping skills. The event has a level of trauma that is beyond the normal every day experiences of those affected. Those affected can be the Guest/s or staff assisting the Guest/s, the Guest/s family and friends and their Host.

Some examples of critical incidents to which the AHN community may have to respond include:

  • death of a Guest or close family member
  • attempted suicide
  • life threatening injury or illness
  • child abuse
  • physical violence including:
  • serious emotional or psychological harm
  • serious neglect of a child
  • mental health crisis
  • drug or alcohol overdose
  • contacting Guest in case of family emergency


2. Accountability

With reference to the National Code, as AHN is providing a management tool for education providers which are required to have in place a critical incident management policy, as per Standard 6.8 of the National Code, our role is one of a communication conduit. It is the responsibility of the education provider to determine the appropriate course of action for each critical incident as per their own critical incident management plan.

The following displays the usual levels of “Duty of Care” over all Guests whilst in country on a student visa:

3. Notifcation


In cases of critical incident the “Emergency and Critical Incident Procedure” must be engaged.

The following communication flow is to be used as a guide for appropriate communication channels:




Critical Incidents must be escalated to an AHN National staff member either directly or through the AHN Territory Manager where the incident has occurred, without exception.

4. Intervention

It is not the responsibility of AHN staff to contact the next of kin, consulate, Department of Immigration (DIAC) or the Department of Education. These matters will fall to the education provider under their duty of care responsibilities.

5. Homestay Host

Keep in contact with the Guest/s Host ensuring that support and assistance is available to them and to keep them informed of the situation as it unfolds.

6. Evaluation

Conduct debriefing session for everyone directly involved in the incident. People can express their emotions about the incident and ensure that any needs are met.

Policies, procedures and the implementation of procedures and responses should be evaluated and possible changes and improvement for future critical incidents discussed and made.

7. Documentation

Records should be kept by the 24/7 provider, CEO (or a representative) throughout the whole response period. Including:

  • detailed documentation
  • copies of emails and letters
  • records of significant interactions
  • contact details for significant people in the process

8. Follow up

The following are possible issues that may need monitoring:

  • monitor the need for counselling and maintain contact with those who may need ongoing support 
  • access the need for, and organise debriefing sessions for all those involved in the incident

Critical Incidents - checklist of tasks for AHN 24/7 (guide only)



Responsible Person



Notification of critical incident



Confirmation of homestay Guest’s identity



Emergency Services engaged as needed



After Hours Call Centre apply management process and assign tasks



State Manager contacts relevant institutions staff – as per institution protocols.



State Manager advises CEO in case of serious incident



Update and gather information from hospital or police – pass on to institution and / or Host as necessary



All details of incident are recorded by AHN staff






Assess the need for ongoing counselling and support



Conduct debriefing session



Staff evaluation



Complete all records



This form is to be completed by the relevant staff member following the notification of a critical incident. This document may be used by the AHN State Manager to brief the education provider representative contact point if necessary.

Name of person completing this form:




Time incident reported:


Person reporting incident:


Homestay Guest’s identity:


Homestay Host:


Contact Details:




Contact details:


Education provider:


Contact details:


Nature of incident:


Outline clearly what happened, where, who was involved and the current situation:




Information from hospital or police (if relevant):


Name of Officer: 






Contact details: 


Case Number:


Hospital contact details:






Record any advice or information provided by the education provider




Recorded by:




Follow up action for homestay Host, Supervisor or NAM:






Reviewed: March 2022