Safe360°™ Safeguarding Policy Section 2: Roles & responsibilities

2.1 Responsibilities

The University Compliance Officer is the Lead for the overall Safe360°™Safeguarding Framework and is responsible for the application of the procedures associated with this Policy.

Approval of this Policy and procedures is authorised by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, followed by Staff Committee and Court (Staff) or Education Strategy Committee and Senate (Students). A consolidated and anonymised dashboard of safe-related incidents and concerns is regularly produced for Executive Team by Security, Safety, Health and Wellbeing and Student Experience. It is shared with key committees in order that a responsive structure of support is supervised and continually discussed at senior level.

The Director of Student Experience is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Safeguarding Policy and implementation of related procedures and support for matters relating to students.

The Director of Human Resources is responsible for supporting staff with safeguarding concerns, the procedures relating to disclosures, allegations or reports involving staff, including support sought by staff.

The Report and Support Response Team of key contacts are promoted widely for disclosures, reporting, support, or guidance relating to a safeguarding incident for any member of the University community.

The University of Strathclyde expects partner organisations of the University to have their own safeguarding policies and child protection reporting procedures in place. Strathclyde University representatives should never be complacent. University staff must always demonstrate leadership in checking for and applying risk assessment to interrogate safeguarding processes.

2.2 Expectations for all University staff, students, volunteers & representatives

Everyone within the scope of this policy, outlined in Section 1, acting on behalf of the University of Strathclyde in any capacity, on campus, off campus, or across digital platforms, in the UK, or other countries should be aware of, and uphold this policy. They are expected to:

  • Contribute to a safe and respectful learning and working environment.
  • Undertake all provided training associated with this policy commensurate to your role.
  • Respond promptly to all safeguarding concerns or incidents. Never be a bystander, fail to act upon, or address a safeguarding concern.
  • Report any concerns, suspicions, or information regarding safeguarding violations through the university’s safeguarding reporting system, Report and Support. Maintain respectful confidentiality about any suspected, or actual incidents, and uphold the ongoing protection of sensitive information of parties involved or referred to.
  • Be diligent to the University PVG guidance. If in doubt, contact HR or your Line Manager to clarify the appropriate level of Disclosure or PVG check that a role you undertake may require. Advise HR or your Line Manager of any violation to Disclosure or PVG regulations in relation to your own record, or others, that impacts on work with children and adults at risk.
  • Co-operate fully with internal or external investigation into reported concerns.
  • The university expects that its staff will ensure that any student having trouble will be signposted to appropriate support services in order that the individual can be supported appropriately.
  • Treat safeguarding seriously. We need to uphold safeguarding standards to create safe environments for one another, noting that some remits, for example, undertaking research can often expose individuals and teams to challenging opinions and behaviours such as harassment or hate-related threats. These may compromise their safety and can constitute a crime.

2.3 Digital safeguarding statement

We all have the right to expect the same standards of behaviour online as those expected in face-to-face interactions. If something is illegal or disrespectful face-to-face, then it does not make it acceptable to behave that way online.

Online abuse covers a wide range of behaviours and technologies. Abuse happens when someone acts in a way that causes harm and distress to others. Online abuse is any type of abuse that happens on the web, whether through social networks, personal devices, or online games. It includes cyberbullying, harassment, hate crime, revenge porn, grooming, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or emotional abuse. Children and adults at risk can be at risk of online abuse from people they know, as well as from strangers. Online abuse may be part of abuse that is taking place in the real world (for example bullying or grooming) or it may be that the abuse only happens online (for example persuading children or adults at risk to take part in sexual activity online). Unfortunately, social media is also widely used by abusers, and many perpetrators who ‘hide’ behind the fact that they may not be able to be readily identified, say things that they would not consider saying face-to-face.

University guidance has been developed to educate staff (guidance on the use of social media for staff (pdf)) and students (guidance on the use of social media for students (pdf)) in the safe and constructive use of digital technologies. We expect staff and students to model best practice in how they behave online in all locations on and off campus to ensure our University is operating in line with our values and within the law that provides the highest level of protection. They are held to account through the respective discipline procedures and involvement of Police.

The University supports staff and students in the pursuit of legitimate aims of research and will not tolerate abuse. Incidents of abuse can also occur inwardly. It can be obvious that someone is behaving in an abusive way but not always clear where the boundary falls between expressing a point of view and being abusive. Not only those in public facing roles or undertaking research may receive personal threats. Students or staff may be affected when sharing work or opinions and experiences related to study, or by affiliation to situations, organisations, products, people, and a wide variety of other topics.

Use Report and Support to report a concern about behaviour, conduct or content online. The University works closely with statutory authorities to protect the rights of staff and students. The Report and Support flowchart should be followed as with any safeguarding concern in the physical environment.

See, Section 4: Reporting procedure

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Agency (CEOP) can also be contacted securely if you have been a victim of online abuse, or you are worried about somebody else.

2.4 Developing an active bystander culture

We work together to develop a culture that enables anyone to report concerns and to monitor safeguarding protocol to identify and address any gaps or weaknesses. This Policy appeals to every member of the University community to contribute to an active bystander culture and this policy and procedure is intended to support anyone to make an intervention or report a concern on behalf of a person they feel to be at risk, or something they witness, such as harmful behaviour.

A bystander is anyone who observes any situation. At times, we may witness events around us that make us feel uncomfortable. We can be faced with the dilemma to do something, or do nothing (a passive bystander). Being an active bystander means challenging prejudice and discrimination when you see it, in a way that feels safe for you. This may be to speak up, speak out, offer, or call for help.

2.5 Reporting misconduct

If you observe, or are concerned that someone in a position of trust is putting a person at risk, has caused harm, or is being neglectful, do not ignore it. Speak up.

Report your concern using Report and Support. This can be done anonymously.

2.6 Absolute accountability & failure to comply

This policy communicates the attitudes and standards of behaviour expected of all members of the University Community, and set out in law.

It outlines the high standards for staff and students to uphold the rights of others as outlined in the Dignity and Respect Policy (pdf). Failure to follow this policy may lead to disciplinary action as set out in the Student Disciplinary Procedure and Staff Disciplinary Procedure.

Actions which constitute safeguarding offences, are a breach to this policy and are illegal. In the case of behaviours likely to cause or result in harm, abuse, or neglect of a person(s), the University works with Police Scotland and other public agencies to support a lawful and respectful University Community and to address the illegal or harmful behaviours described in this policy.

See Section 4: Reporting procedure

2.7 Safer recruitment, induction & supervision

We comply with the Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020 to ensure that those who have regular contact with vulnerable groups, through the workplace, do not have a history of harmful behaviour. It will exclude people who, based on their past behaviour, are known to be unsuitable from working, paid or unpaid, with children and protected adults and detect those who become unsuitable while in the workplace.

Scottish Government information on types of Disclosure.

The University Policy and Guidance on the Protecting Vulnerable Groups.

Positions of trust: our expectations

We have specific expectations upon the adult University Community in relation to children and young people under the age of 18. Everyone working and volunteering for the University, or acting on the University’s behalf is in a position of trust when working with Children and Young People*.

In the UK, a person can legally consent to sexual activity if they are 16 years old or over. This means that 16 is the age at which the law thinks you are old enough to say yes to having sex with someone else whether you are straight, lesbian, gay or bisexual. In Scotland, sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 13 is rape.

We refer to the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009. It tells us that consent means "free agreement". It recognises the following situations where you cannot give free agreement:

  • When someone is incapable of consenting because of the effects of alcohol or drugs
  • When someone is asleep or unconscious
  • When someone agrees because they are unlawfully detained
  • When someone agrees because of threats of violence
  • When someone agrees because the person is pretending to be someone else

It is also illegal under the Act, for an adult in a position of trust to engage in sexual activity with a person under the age of 18. It applies to all adults over the age of 18 who are in a position of trust with a child under the age of 18 and engage in a sexual activity with them. This protects young people aged 16 and 17 who, even though they are over the age of consent for sexual activity, could be considered vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation.

Never conduct intimate relations with a child or young person in your care. The Staff Personal Relationships Policy (pdf) outlines the university’s position on relationships between members of staff and students. Mutual trust is the basis for all staff-student relationships.

*Positions of Trust: We have specific expectations upon the adult University Community in relation to children and young people under the age of 18.

  • Abuse of Trust - Section 42; A person commits the offence of sexual abuse of trust if he or she is aged 18 years or older and intentionally engage in a sexual activity with, or directed at, a person who is under 18 and in respect of whom the perpetrator is in a position of trust.
  • Positions of trust - Section 43; Subsection (5, 127) provides that a position of trust is constituted where B is receiving education at a school and A looks after persons under the age of 18 in that school or where B is receiving education in a further or higher education institution and A looks after B in that institution.

2.8 The Prevent Duty

This policy underpins the university’s approach to the Prevent Duty. The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a duty on public bodies and universities to have 'due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’.

‘Prevent’ is one of the four elements that make up the UK Government’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy, CONTEST:

  • Prevent – to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism
  • Pursue – to stop terrorist attacks in the UK
  • Protect – to strengthen the UK’s protection against terrorist attacks
  • Prepare – to mitigate the impact of terrorist attacks

Preventative activity in Scotland strives to address all forms of violent extremist activity to reduce the risk of terrorism so that citizens can live freely and with confidence.

As with our wider safeguarding endeavour to reduce the risk of harm to, or harmful influence on a person, early identification of risk to an individual is paramount. Where we identify a person may be vulnerable to extremist and terrorist narratives, we aim to give appropriate support and signpost guidance at an early stage. If you are concerned for a colleague, staff, or student who you feel is vulnerable to radical extremist ideologies, please report your concern through Report and Support.

2.9  Working with others to safeguard

We recognise that relationships are key. Our safeguarding structure includes external partners from statutory (e.g., Police Scotland, child and adult social work services or medical professionals) and non-statutory bodies (e.g., charitable organisations, advocacy, gender, faith and race-based support agencies or community-based groups). Sometimes we refer to these as formal and informal agencies. The University will signpost agencies to provide expert support, assistance, or advocacy. We also work with partners for the purpose of training, development, and as critical friends.

We are proud of our partnerships. Collaborative activity with partners enables the movement of staff and students within diverse learning, social and work environments, to implement local, cross-border and international programmes and projects with a diverse range of beneficiaries including vulnerable groups.

We expect partner organisations to have their own policies, structures and reporting procedures for managing safeguarding issues and for University representatives to comply with local protocol. Where partner organisations do not have their own safeguarding protocols, we advise University representatives to contact the First Responder Network and adhere to this policy.