Community Understanding and Safety Training

Community Understanding and Safety Training (CUST) empowers school staff to foster culturally inclusive environments that enhance Koorie students' well-being.

  • Tier:
    • Tier 1 Positive mental health promotion
    • Tier 2: Early Intervention and cohort specific support
  • Type of intervention: Positive mental health promotion; Whole school approach to mental health; Support for diverse cohorts
  • Strength of evidence: Registered professional
  • Geographic location: State-wide.

Program description

Community Understanding and Safety Training (CUST) is professional learning for school staff to increase their understanding of Koorie culture, history, and experiences. The purpose of the training is to ensure a strong foundation for culturally inclusive schools and practices, which can have a positive impact on Koorie students’ health and wellbeing. CUST aligns with the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes, particularly the state priority of ‘Positive Climate for Learning’.

CUST is typically delivered to schools by Koorie Engagement Support Officers in collaboration with the Local Aboriginal Education Group where possible. The training is intended to be delivered to the whole school community, which may include leadership groups, teachers, education support staff, parents, and the school council.

Most schools across Victoria have completed CUST and may use the Schools Mental Health Fund to invest in continued learning and deeper implementation of CUST. Schools yet to complete the training, or those seeking refresher training can contact their Koorie Education Coordinator.

While it is preferable to complete CUST face-to-face given the sensitive nature of the content, schools may also participate in online CUST, by completing a series of modules developed in collaboration with the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association.

Intended outcomes

  • Build educators knowledge about cultural issues and boundaries affecting Koorie learners
  • Allow space for Koorie culture and inclusiveness

Program details

Target audience
  • Capacity building for primary school staff
  • Capacity building for secondary school staff
Program providerDepartment of Education Victoria
Delivery mode
  • Face-to-face
  • Online

Implementation considerations

  • Target population: All school-based staff.
  • Program adaptability: Sessions are tailored to the local community and local Aboriginal groups.
  • Staffing: Backfilling may be required for staff to attend training sessions.
  • Training requirements: Participants must attend one session hosted and presented by members of the community associated with the Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Groups, as well as the appropriate Koorie Engagement Support Officers.
  • Australian experience: The modules were developed and are implemented in collaboration with Indigenous Australians.


  • Item cost: Free
  • Detailed cost: Free