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Safeguarding expectations

The University and Colleges all have separate safeguarding policies. This guidance is not intended to override the relevance or applicability of those policies, but to supplement these for readers doing work for any of those entities, who may either be employed directly for that work, or providing services as a self-employed contractor. You should be aware of such policies, noting that they are generally aligned.

In the course of any work, you may have been asked to conform to particular behaviour or conduct standards. These have been provided largely to protect both you and any people you interact with from incidents or allegations of misconduct or harassment in its many forms.

Over and above those expectations of managing interpersonal interactions safely and professionally, the Colleges (and the University) have legal obligations relating to children (defined as people under 18 years old) and adults at risk (defined as people who are over 18 years old but who may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness, and who are or may be unable to take care of themselves or unable to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation).

Your work in most cases would not be classified as a set of interactions that would require an external criminal records check (through the national Disclosure and Barring Service). If it does, you will be contacted directly and separately by the College (or University).

While working, you may, however, interact with children or adults at risk (as defined above). There is a general duty of care that, should you identify or be informed directly about a situation where abuse or harm may have occurred1, you have a responsibility to act: this is limited to you informing the College (or University) Safeguarding Lead about your concerns, so that they can take appropriate action. If you do not know who the Safeguarding Lead is (or cannot contact them for any reason), you should instead contact either the Senior Tutor or another senior officer of the College (or the Head of Department).

In becoming aware of alleged or actual abuse:

  1. you should make it clear early in any conversation that you may not be able keep this information confidential and that you are required to pass on the information to the College (or University) Safeguarding Lead.
  2. you should take care to listen carefully, and record the facts without making or implying any judgement as to the truth or extent of the allegation or the underlying circumstances.
  3. you should be clear at the end of your conversation whether or not you will be passing information onto the Safeguarding Lead (being aware that this is neither a choice of theirs, nor something that requires their consent) and that it is very important that you do so.
  4. you should pass your record onto the Safeguarding Lead as soon as possible, who will advise you whether or not to keep your own copy of the information.2

In the event of an emergency situation, where you believe there may be a threat to life, you should instead contact the police (999) immediately and afterwards inform the Safeguarding Lead. 

If you wish to understand more about recognising the signs of abuse, there are a number of external websites that you might find helpful, including:

1The Ann Craft Trust suggests that the Care Act 2014 recognises 10 categories of abuse or harm:  physical abuse; sexual abuse; emotional or psychological abuse; financial or material abuse (e.g. victims of theft or fraud); domestic abuse; neglect and acts of omission by parents, appointed guardians or carers (including failing to provide access to health or social care or necessities of life); self-neglect; discriminatory abuse; modern slavery; and organisational abuse (e.g. in a specific care setting).  Other forms of recognised abuse or harm include: cyberbullying, radicalisation into terrorism, and forced marriage.

In some very specific cases (female genital mutilation, forced marriage, terrorism radicalisation), you are required by law to report any disclosure – i.e. not only for children or adults at risk.

2This advice is compliant with relevant laws, including the Data Protection Act 2018, and adheres to good data protection principles and University and College data protection statements.