Victorian Flood Recovery Hotline
Many school communities have been impacted by the 2022 Victorian Flooding event. If you or your staff are directly affected, there are supports available to help.
If you have been impacted by the Victorian flood event, you may contact the Victorian Flood Recovery Hotline on 1800 560 760 for assistance with:
- navigating available supports
- temporary accommodation
- mental health and wellbeing support.
The recovery hotline is open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm every day.
For general information on relief and recovery visit Emergency Victoria.
Damage to your school
If your school site or infrastructure was damaged, log a report through eduSafe Plus.
For help to make your school site safe, phone the Make-safe hotline on 1300 133 468.
For more information, visit Make-safe Guidelines.
Water damaged records
Do not immediately dispose of water damaged records.
If safe to do so, gather as much of this information about the damaged records as possible:
- location of damaged records, for example, room, shipping container, under building, or out house
- approximate volume of damaged records, for example, number of boxes, or room size
- type of records (if possible, noting that this may only be known if someone with knowledge of the school is present)
- photos of the affected storage area and/or records would be appreciated.
Assume that the records contain sensitive information and store them securely, if possible.
Water damaged records can be successfully remediated if handled carefully and treated as soon as possible after becoming wet.
Contact email@example.com who will arrange for a specialist contractor to assess and retrieve the collection for remediation.
Relief available for students and families in need
Financial support for people whose homes are damaged, destroyed and/or inaccessible for more than a week
Re-establishment assistance is available to households of limited financial means, whose home is damaged or destroyed or is inaccessible for more than 7 days due to the recent Victorian flood emergency.
This financial assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. The total maximum emergency re-establishment payment is $43,850 per household, however this depends on household composition and income.
For information and support about the relief services that may be available to you, and to enquire about a re-establishment payment, call the Flood Recovery hotline: 1800 560 760. If you need an interpreter call TIS on 131 450 and ask for the Flood Recovery hotline.
Fact sheets and key messages are available on Personal Hardship Assistance Program – DFFH Services.
Students with disability
The NDIS can assist participants who are impacted because of disability, need urgent repairs or replacement of assistive technology. Contact the NDIS National Contact Centre on 1800 800 110 or visit the NDIS website for more.
School uniforms and supplies
The Affordable School Uniforms program supports eligible government school students in need by providing new school uniforms, school shoes and other essential educational resources.
To access support from the Affordable School Uniforms program, schools can submit applications through their State Schools’ Relief’s online portal after having assessed students’ needs in line with State Schools’ Relief’s criteria. The application and distribution process is confidential.
Health, safety and wellbeing supports for school and corporate staff
Supports and resources are available to government school and department workforces affected by the October 2022 Victorian Flood event.
Employee Assistance Program
All department staff, including school, regional, corporate staff, and their immediate family members (aged 18 years and over) can access the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
This free, confidential counselling service is provided by mental health professionals and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The EAP also offers access to specialist counsellors for Aboriginal, LGBTIQ+ and family violence matters.
The EAP can:
- enable you to have a confidential conversation about your experiences or concerns
- develop a personal recovery plan
- put some self-care strategies in place
- help you to manage anxiety and stress
- provide support with effects of post trauma.
As accessibility improves and staff return to school sites, onsite EAP can also be organised. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Any school staff ineligible to access the department's EAP service, should check whether their superannuation provider or private health provider (if applicable) offer services for mental health support, like the EAP service.
The EAP's Manager Assist is a dedicated telephone advisory service available to support principals, school leaders and managers. This service can provide advice and coaching on a range of issues such as approaching a difficult conversation with employees, managing challenging team dynamics, leading through uncertainty and change, supporting staff at risk and managing the impact of mental health issues within the workplace.
Early Intervention Program
The Early Intervention Program assists all principal class officers to identify and address emerging and existing health and wellbeing issues.
This confidential program aims to provide early support for emerging health and wellbeing risks to prevent them from escalating into more serious health concerns. The program can be used to address work and non-work related matters (excluding Workers’ Compensation claims).
When you access the service, a dedicated Care Coordinator with an allied health qualification will be assigned to support you. Your Care Coordinator will work with you to determine the best program of support to address your health or wellbeing concern and will work with you for the duration of your program.
Your Care Coordinator will help you access a range of goal-directed, and outcome-focussed therapy services from qualified health care professionals of your choice. The therapy services you may access as part of the Early Intervention Program include:
- psychological services
- physiotherapy services
- exercise physiology services
- dietetic services
- advice about other services available within the Department which may improve your health and wellbeing.
Proactive Wellbeing Support for principal class and regional executives
Proactive Wellbeing Support provides free, confidential coaching provided by experienced psychologists to prepare you to support your staff and region through the flooding event recovery.
When the time is right, your staff will likely turn to you for support. Proactive Wellbeing Support will partner you with an experienced psychologist to help you plan support for your area in the days, weeks and months to come.
With your coach, you can work through strategies to provide practical and helpful support to those who need it, when they need it. You're encouraged to continue checking in with your coach to debrief and continue to plan for supporting staff showing distress reactions.
How to manage fatigue
Many staff are working long hours to support the flood response. Experiencing fatigue is a common response to working for prolonged periods of time without the opportunity for adequate breaks or restorative sleep.
As this work is sustained over the coming weeks, it's important that fatigue management strategies are implemented as soon as possible by all affected areas. Unmanaged fatigue can be a risk to health and safety.
Managers, in discussion with their teams, should implement rostering or shift work arrangements as soon as possible. This will help minimise risk of fatigue.
Fatigue management strategies can include:
- implement rostering or shift work arrangements to give staff breaks
- expand flexible work practices where possible
- remove or reduce non-essential work tasks or performance measures that may contribute to workload
- distribute work amongst team members
- talk to staff about what fatigue can look like, so they can identify if they are feeling impacted
- encourage taking regular breaks, keeping hydrated and eating well-balanced nutritious meals
- caution against the overuse of caffeine
- continue to check in with staff to identify where additional support can be provided.
Family violence supports following emergencies
Family violence incidents can increase during emergency and traumatic situations and in the aftermath of these situations.
Family violence support outlines the supports available to students, families and staff affected by family violence. It also outlines school reporting requirements in relation to family violence.
For resources and information about support options for those experiencing family violence, visit What is family violence?
If you're worried about your mental health or the mental health of a loved one, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. You can also contact:
- 000 for immediate concerns
- Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs on 1300 375 370
- your doctor or local community health centre
- a counsellor or psychologist
- NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24
- Beyond Blue
- Mensline Australia
- Australian Psychological Society Referral Service on 1800 333 497
- accredited Social Workers. To find a social worker call 1800 630 124 (Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm).
Health, safety and wellbeing supports for students
Students and young people may experience longer-term emotional and psychosocial impacts because of emergency events.
If a child requires support, a range of options are available, including:
- support through Student Support Services
- how to access counselling and wellbeing supports through a Mental Health Practitioner for secondary school students
- for secondary students, a referral to headspace face-to-face and phone counselling services (or contact headspace directly on 1800 650 890 or headspace.org.au).
Support can also be accessed through:
The following resources can support school staff in recovery and can help with supporting children and young people in recovery:
- mental health and wellbeing toolkits for schools, students, and parents/carers, which includes:
- High-Impact Teaching Strategies for classroom teachers
- Melbourne University Appraise Tool to assess school-level psychosocial recovery needs
- Phoenix Australia resources, includes helping yourself and children after a traumatic event
- the Emerging Minds - Community Trauma Toolkit includes tips for helping children through a traumatic event
- Birdie’s Tree recovery suiteis specifically designed for children aged zero to 5 to work through traumatic experiences and 'big feelings'
- for teaching staff, a quick guide to student mental health and wellbeing (PDF, 551KB).
We also created the following factsheets to help those working in school communities impacted by a disaster to:
- look after their own wellbeing
- provide guidance to children in their school community following a disaster.
The importance of self-care and wellbeing
- The importance of self-care and wellbeing (PDF, 151KB)
- The importance of self-care and wellbeing (DOCX, 16KB)
How to provide support to children following disasters
- Trauma – reaction and recovery – Better Health Channel (Information in your language)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – Better Health Channel (Information in your language)
- Survivor reactions to traumatic events – Better Health Channel (Information in your language)
- Trauma and children – newborns to two years - Better Health Channel (Information in your language)
- Trauma and families – Better Health Channel (Information in your language)
Donations for physical items and goods that are made to schools can be referred to GIVIT.
The Victorian government, through Emergency Recovery Victoria, is working closely with GIVIT to help disaster-impacted communities get the help they need through donations.
Through GIVIT's website, people and organisations can donate goods, services, and funds to help individuals and communities in their recovery. The GIVIT donation website is free to use and makes giving easy by allowing you to see exactly what is needed in affected communities.
GIVIT manages a virtual warehouse through which donors can register and list items they are wanting to donate, and schools can register and search through what is being offered and secure the items or services directly with the donor.
For more information, refer to the GIVIT frequently asked questions.
If you're contacted by a member of the media and need support, contact the media team on 8688 7776.
Find out more
- For department queries related to flood events, call 1800 338 663, and follow the relevant prompts. This service is available 8:30 am to 5 pm, on weekdays.
- For the latest storm and flood information, visit Victoria State Emergency Service (SES)
- For up-to-date emergency warnings and information, visit VicEmergency respond.
- For information on relief and recovery, refer to the VicEmergency relief.
- For emergency assistance in a flood or storm, call the Victorian State Emergency Service on 13 25 00.
- For emergency information about floods and storms, call the SES information line on 1300 842 737.
- For information on supports for students and families, refer to support for children, students and families.