Community Cohesion:

Mitigating and Managing Extremism and Anti-Social Behaviours in Schools and School Communities

A NSW Government funded initiative, the Community Cohesion Project aims to assist NSW independent schools review, refine and/or develop systems, processes and practices, to protect against student high risk taking, ant-social and extremist behaviour. AISNSW is currently consulting with the sector to inform the development of a range of initiatives designed to support schools in strengthening community cohesion and maintaining cultural harmony.

The goal of the project is to mitigate and manage extremism and antisocial behaviours in schools and school communities by supporting the development of strong, robust, proactive, and responsive systems and processes which:

  • Build a cohesive and respectful school community;
  • Identify and support students with vulnerability;
  • Identify risks to the health, safety and wellbeing of students and staff;
  • Effectively plan for and respond to incidents;
  • Support post incident recovery;
  • Strengthen community engagement.


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Hotline Protocols

When do I call the hotline?

There are several ways that school staff may become aware that there are concerns about a potential or an actual incident of anti-social and extremist behaviour. These include:

  • A report from an external source, such as a parent or carer, peer, Police, or a member of the community
  • A student displays anti-social and extremist behaviour while at school or during an off-site school activity
  • Posts on a social media site linking a student to anti-social and extremist behaviour; or
  • There is a notable and sudden change in a student’s behaviour, which upon further enquiry reveals that the student is engaging in,or is associating with people involved in anti-social and extremist behaviour, either in the school or in the community.

Examples of incidents that are reportable as anti-social and extremist behaviour are: 

  • Threats made to a school via the school’s website or social media site.
  • Graffiti in the school relating to extremist or terrorist organisations
  • A student threatening other students, in regard to ideological or religious practices or beliefs
  • A noticeable change in a student’s behaviour, including the student posting pro-terrorist related information on their own or other’s social media site
  • A student writing and sharing violent or threatening racial comments
  • Allegations or information provided that a student is being encouraged by another person or group to support or engage in anti-social and extremist activity
  • A student bragging about a plot or plans to harm others or damage property in support of extreme beliefs
  • A student or group of students is wearing or carrying paraphernalia which supports an extremist organisation
  • A student who says they want to travel to a country where there is conflict and fighting occurring
  • Concerns raised to a school about an ex-student’s activities whose sibling still attends the school.

If the Principal becomes aware of an issue under any of these circumstances, they should report to the non-government School Safety and Support Hotline on 1300 495 051.

Concerns about staff or members of the community who are displaying anti-social and extremist behaviour should also be reported to the Hotline.

What happens when I call the hotline?

Making a report about anti-social and extremist behaviour is simple. The non-government School Safety and Response Hotline is open 24/7, 365 days per year. Calls related to anti-social and extremist behaviour are taken from all NSW schools. The Hotline will have Police in attendance. The hotline is managed by NSW Department of Education staff but is accessible to all NSW schools.

When reporting to the Hotline, you will need to provide as much information as possible. This will include:

  • Information on what has led to your report eg. what has occurred/been reported/been witnessed
  • Details of the staff/student(s) involved
  • Details of any other persons that may be linked to the situation
  • Any other relevant information about the staff/ student(s) e.g. other Police history, other relevant information regarding any issues at home or suspensions/expulsions history, which may help establish the level of threat.

The more information you can provide when reporting to the Hotline, the better. The person making the report should have the staff member who raised the issue with them, if possible, when making the report, in case they are able to provide additional information in response to the questions the incident support officer will ask.

Once the information has been taken it will be assessed and a decision made about who will need a copy of the report. A copy of all incidents will be provided to NSW Police at least monthly and depending on the circumstances it may be escalated immediately for appropriate consideration and action.

The report will also be provided to the case management team in the Case Management and Specialist Support Unit. They will review the incident and contact the school where required.

Reporting Process

In summary, the reporting process for anti-social and extremist behaviour incidents is:

  • Report to non-government School Safety and Response Hotline - Information disseminated to relevant stakeholders
  • Report referred to Case Management and Specialist Support Unit - Case manager makes immediate contact with school to assess the incident and commence case management
  • Specialist Support Team receives a referral if appropriate - Team leader contacts the school to offer advice and support