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This webpage sets out the information relating to safeguarding at Canterbury Christ Church University. Where the University holds information on other webpages, we provide a link through this page.

The purpose is to provide members of the University, in any capacity, with a basic understanding of safeguarding. It includes knowing what to do if you have concerns about the welfare of a child or adult at risk.

We regularly update our arrangements. In particular, we make changes based on national guidance.

If you identify information not included on this page, please us know. You can tell us using this contact email:

Safeguarding is about protecting a person's right to study and live at the University in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about working together to avoid and stop both the risk and experience of abuse or neglect. It is essential to support those students and apprentices who are children and adults at risk.

The University approaches Safeguarding within the spirit and ethos of our mission and values. It takes account of our equality and diversity policy. The objective is to provide a fair environment where we treat everyone with dignity and respect.

Everyone coming into contact with children and adults at risk has a role in taking prompt action by identifying and sharing concerns.

Although specific staff take the lead, everybody has a safeguarding responsibility. A staff member, student, apprentice or volunteer may become aware of safeguarding concerns about an individual. No person should ignore such a situation but either act or share those concerns.

Our Safeguarding Statement of Policy outlines the approach we take to Safeguarding. We have associated procedures for enabling us to implement our Policy.

There are several aspects of the work of the University that have implications for Safeguarding.

These are examples of our work that affects under 18s:

  • Some students are under 18 when commencing their studies
  • We host work experience students who are under 18 years of age
  • Students or staff may have a concern about children or siblings under 18
  • School and college students under 18 visiting the University on an organised day or residential visit
  • Outreach activity with children through our widening participation work, with initiatives taking place on or off-campus, including online, summer schools or other events
  • We may engage with children on apprenticeships or pre-apprenticeships

These are examples of our services that affect under 18s and adults at risk:

  • Accommodating residential students includes children and those considered adults at risk
  • Our counselling, occupational health or other welfare services are open to children and adults at risk
  • Staff supervise students, apprentices or trainees in the workplace
  • Research projects can involve children and adults at risk.
  • Disabled students and those with long-term medical conditions may also be children or considered adults at risk
  • We provide public access to University facilities, which can include children and adults at risk
  • We use online and other media resources used by under 18s and adults at risk

There are activities students and apprentices undertake that involve under 18s and adults at risk:

  • Many students undertake placements including working with children in schools and colleges and adults at risk and vulnerable adults, particularly in clinical disciplines, as part of professional training
  • Volunteering or other social activities

Furthermore, individuals may be at risk of radicalisation.


In our safeguarding arrangements, we use the following terms.


References to 'child' or 'children' mean anyone under the age of 18 years.

This definition derives from the Children Act 1989, Section 105.

In some contexts, the term 'young person' applies to those aged 16 to 18.

Adult at Risk

An 'adult at risk' is someone over 18 years of age who

(i) has needs for care and support; and

(ii) is experiencing, or is at risk of, neglect, or physical, mental or emotional harm; and

(iii) as a result of those needs is unable to protect themselves against neglect or harm, or the risk of it.

The definition derives from the Care Act 2014 Section 42(1).

We regard it as unacceptable for any individual to experience any form of harm or abuse.

Safeguarding is how the University protects children and adults at risk from abuse, neglect or exploitation from harm. Safeguarding concerns may arise through University activities. Such activities can take place on and off University premises.

We recognise the responsibility to safeguard children and adult students and apprentices from the risk of harm within the University. There is also a need to protect those who come into contact with University activities.

Safeguards are measures we need to put in place to help reduce the risk of harm to children and adults.

Safeguarding Under 18s

In safeguarding children, we draw on the definition used by the Department for Education Keeping Children Safe in Education:

  • protecting children from maltreatment;
  • preventing impairment of children's mental and physical health or development;
  • ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes

 Safeguarding adults

Adults 18 years and over can still be at risk of abuse. It might be due to

  • family or personal circumstances
  • drug or alcohol use
  • exposure to risks of exploitation, radicalisation or victimisation
  • disability or issues around physical or mental health increasing a person's vulnerability

In safeguarding adults at risk, we ensure their rights are protected. The aim is to enable them to live and study in safety, free from abuse and neglect.

In promoting the well-being of adults at risk, we take account, as far as is possible, of their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action. We do this when considering whether to refer concerns to statutory bodies or charitable organisations.

We recognise that adults at risk sometimes have complex interpersonal relationships. They may be ambivalent, unclear or unrealistic about their circumstances. They may not fully appreciate potential threats to their safety or well-being. For this reason, we may not always be able to defer entirely to their wishes when making decisions.

The University has a duty of care to deliver its services (for example teaching, supervision, pastoral) to the standard of the ordinarily competent University. It includes the obligation when providing our services and functions to act reasonably to protect the health, safety, and welfare of our students and apprentices.

In deciding if there is a duty, there is a need to consider specific sector guidance. Examples include that issued by sector bodies such as UUK, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA). We also need to consider practices at similar universities. Particular attention needs paying to the of the expectations Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). Ofsted inspects the arrangements the University has to have in place to support apprentices in their learning opportunities and academic experience.

With staff members working with adults at risk (such as personal academic tutors, accommodation staff, placement officers, student support advisors and counsellors), the expectation is that of the ordinary skilled individual exercising the skills arising from their position or professional skills. The standard is higher for trained professionals (such as counsellors and chaplains) than for other student support staff.

In establishing whether a duty of care exists, what is essential is whether

  • there is a close relationship between the University and the individuals concerned,
  • the damage was reasonably foreseeable and
  • it is fair, just and reasonable to expect there to be a duty.

The more extensive the support services provided for a student or apprentice, the greater the extent of the University's duty of care is likely to owe the student.

An enhanced duty of care arises when the individual has a particular vulnerability, such as a mental health disability, being under 18 or is an international student.

Particular issues may arise for students with undeclared or undiagnosed mental health difficulties as to whether the University is "on notice" of those difficulties

Forms of Abuse

There are various forms of abuse and neglect. Examples of types of abuse include:

  • sexual abuse,
  • physical abuse,
  • psychological/emotional abuse
  • domestic abuse,
  • discriminatory abuse
  • financial abuse.
  • radicalisation.

Where to find out more about Forms of Abuse

The NHS website provides information on abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults.

Child abuse is any action by another person – either an adult or a child – causing significant harm to a child. It can be physical, sexual or emotional. It can also be through neglect – lack of love, care and attention, which might be as damaging as physical abuse. The NSPCC webpages explain about the different types of abuse.

Effective safeguarding requires staff to understand their responsibilities. The Safeguarding Statement of Policy sets out these responsibilities. Individual role holders may delegate tasks associated with these responsibilities.

At present, the University Safeguarding Co-ordinator is the Director of Student Experience, Dr Moira Helm.

This table provides a summary of the duties.

The Vice-Chancellor

The Vice-Chancellor has overall responsibility for ensuring implementation of the Safeguarding Policy across the University. The Vice-Chancellor reports to the Governing Body on its performance.


University Safeguarding Co-ordinator

The University Safeguarding Co-ordinator is a senior manager who is

  • accountable for overseeing the development, implementation and monitoring of our Statement of Safeguarding Policy and related procedures
  • coordinates the network of Faculty/ Professional Service Department Safeguarding Leads and their training

Head of Student Wellbeing

The Head of Student Wellbeing

  • supports the implementation of the Safeguarding Statement of Policy and procedures
  • oversees the handling of individual cases

The Interim Head of Student Wellbeing is Lucie Duncan.

Faculty/ Professional Service Department Safeguarding Leads

There will be specific staff who will act as the Faculty/ Professional Service Department Safeguarding Leads. These Leads will take the lead within their Faculty or Professional Service Department.

The Safeguarding Lead would work closely with the University Safeguarding Co-ordinator. Together they would be responsible for ensuring a coordinated strategic approach to safeguarding across the University.

Designated Safeguarding Officers

Designated Safeguarding Officers may work at a programme, School, Faculty or Departmental level. The determination of the number of Designated Safeguarding Officers depends on an analysis of need. There will be a variation in the number of DSOs between Faculties and Departments. The number of DSOs is likely to vary over time.

Designated Safeguarding Officers

  • ensure the policies and procedures appropriately reflect the requirements of safeguarding in their respective areas
  • act as a point of contact for staff, students and apprentices seeking advice on a safeguarding concern
  • ensure students, trainees or apprentices in the respective Faculties, Programmes, or Departments undertake regulated activities receive the appropriate training through the curriculum.

Members of Staff

All staff, including part-time and temporary staff and volunteers, are responsible for acting on any safeguarding concerns.

It includes concerns where there is no direct responsibility relating to the children and adults at risk.

Students and Apprentices

Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility. Students and apprentices also have a responsibility to safeguard children and adults at risk.


Sometimes someone may tell you something about a matter of concern, which is called a disclosure. It could be about abuse or radicalisation.

This table set out what you should do – and should not do.

What you should do

What you should NOT do

  • Stay calm

  • Make time – it may not be convenient for you, but you must accept it is for the person making the report

  • Listen carefully

  • Give the person time to have their say

  • Takes seriously what the person says

  • Ask questions for clarification

  • Be empathetic

  • Give reassurance the person was right to speak up

  • Tell the person you will pass the information on

  • Record in writing what the person said

  • Promptly send the report securely to a Designated Safeguarding Officer or


  • Show shock or disbelief

  • Panic

  • Be judgemental

  • Be negative

  • Ask leading questions

  • Make assumptions

  • Offer explanations

  • Interview the subject

  • Start to investigate

  • Contact any alleged perpetrator

  • Promise to keep secrets

  • Make promises you cannot keep

  • Try to resolve the matter yourself

  • Delay in reporting to a Designated Safeguarding Office or

  • Tell colleagues about the incident


Suppose a child or adult at risk discloses abuse or radicalisation to you. In that case, you mustn't start to investigate or ask leading questions. The reasons are it could compromise any formal investigation undertaken by the police or social services at a later date.

Concerns for the safety and well-being of children or adults at risk arise in various ways and different settings. Possibly, these do not relate directly to the University.

It is not always easy to recognise a situation that puts an individual at risk. These concerns might include:

  • a child may report or might display signs of abuse
  • a person might say something to suggest a child or an adult is at risk
  • a person sees or hears about what appears to be abuse in another organisation
  • an individual may be supporting an adult who abused them as a child
  • the behaviour of a staff member
  • concerns about a person's welfare, which can be shared by someone else or arise from the observation of a person's behaviour
  • concern about the behaviour of an adult accompanying a child or children
  • concerns about bullying
  • concerns about extremism

Where there are concerns, you need to act quickly and professionally

If a person discloses a matter to you, you mustn't start to investigate. The reason is it could compromise a later formal investigation.

The course of action the University takes depends on the specifics of the situation. It includes identifying those who need informing about the allegations. These decisions are likely to be taken at a later stage of the process.

Although the University treats reports in confidence, there may be a need to share information inside and outside the University. We would keep such sharing to a minimum. However, where it is essential to safeguard a child or adult at risk, there may be a need to disclose.

How Staff Can Raise Concerns

All University staff members are responsible for reporting any concerns about a child, an adult at risk or an individual at risk of radicalisation. Members of staff can do this by either:

  • notifying their Designated Safeguarding Officer; or
  • contacting with Student Support, Health and Wellbeing

How Students and Apprentices can Raise Concerns

Students and apprentices can share any safeguarding concerns in several ways:

  1. Talking to a tutor, a Designated Safeguarding Officer or Lead, or a staff member in Student Wellbeing
  2. Emailing
  3. Using the report and support system – where it is possible to make reports anonymously

Most students and apprentices will be 18 or over when they register at the University or turn 18 soon after starting their studies.

The University is an adult environment. It regards its students and apprentices as independent, mature individuals, and treat them as such.

Responsibilities of Schools and Professional Services

In terms of the law, anyone under 18 is a child. It means they may have additional needs for their support and welfare. There is advice on the implications for Schools and Professional Services in Under 18s on University Award Bearing Programmes: Safeguarding Procedure.

The University offers admission to under-18s at registration only where the University is satisfied the student meets entry requirements.

The University does not take on the usual rights, responsibilities and authority of parents, carers, and guardians related to a child. As such, it does not act in loco parentis for students who are under-18.

The University's Under 18s Safeguarding Policy sets out the University's approach to under-18s, including those not studying at the University.

Responsibilities of Parents, Carers and Guardians

All students under-18 at their study start date not ordinarily resident in the UK must have a UK guardian.

An under-18 student may not be able to enter into legal contracts with the University. Therefore, we may require a guarantor agrees to honour the student's contractual obligations entered into before turning 18.

Prevent Duty

The University has a statutory duty to safeguard individuals against the risk of radicalisation. Prevent forms part of the Government's counter-terrorism strategy. It has three aims:

  • Respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat faced by the UK from those who promote it;
  • Prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure the making of offers of appropriate advice and support;
  • Work with sectors where there is a need to address the risks of radicalisation.

You can find out more on the University's Prevent webpage.

The University's approach

The University approaches the Prevent duty within the spirit and ethos of our mission and values. The approach is mindful of our commitment to freedom of speech and academic freedom, which are also statutory duties. It takes account of our equality and diversity policy. The objective is to provide a fair environment where we treat everyone with dignity and respect. It means sustaining a culture that is free from discrimination linked to any personal characteristic.

The University values freedom of thought, conscience and religion and encourages open and reasoned debate. However, the manifestation of freedom of thought, conscience and religion is not an absolute right. Intervention might be justified if considered necessary to protect the rights of others as set out in legislation.

The University's work in this area focuses on enhancing the risk assessment of individuals at risk and external speakers to promote informed decision-making and reduce the potential for unconscious bias via training, development and awareness-raising. The University implements the duty to emphasise concern for individual well-being in handling incidents and reports. 

We cover individuals at risk of radicalisation within our Safeguarding Statement of Policy.

Events and external speakers

We have policies and procedures for managing events on campus and online and using all University premises. These apply to all staff, students and visitors. They set out what is required for any event to proceed.

The University has a strong commitment to ensuring freedom of speech and academic freedom within the law. We set it out in our Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech and External Speakers. Procedures Relating To External Speakers support this Code.

We balance this in terms of both protecting students and staff and complying with the law. Encouragement of terrorism and inviting support for a proscribed terrorist organisation are both criminal offences.

You can find out more on our Booking External Speakers webpage.


The duty to protect children and adults at risk from harm extends to safeguard them, and the wider University community, from involvement in groups setting out to radicalise individuals. The Government's Prevent Duty Guidance defines radicalisation as

'...the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with terrorist groups'.

The Government identified universities as potential sites for radicalisation. Whilst children and adults at risk may be more open to radicalisation, other individuals might also be at risk.

When deciding whether an individual may be vulnerable to involvement with terrorism, you might consider a person's:

  • Engagement with a group, cause or ideology
  • Intent to cause harm
  • Capability to cause harm

There may be a concern about someone because of changes in the person's appearance or behaviour. For example, an individual may:

  • stop contact with their peers or only be interested in communications with members of a particular ideological group
  • change their usual style of dress
  • condone violence in support of an espoused ideology

There can be good reasons for such changes representing an individual choice. It is the reason for adopting a safeguarding approach. It assists relevant services, within and outside the University, in identifying the person's vulnerabilities and needs.

Should a staff member be concerned a colleague may be becoming radicalised, it is essential to contact Human Resources for guidance.

You may be a student concerned an individual may be becoming radicalised. In that case, you should discuss this with the Safeguarding Lead for your Faculty or Professional Service or your Designated Safeguarding Officer.

The relevant ethics committees are responsible for safeguarding children and adults at risk involved in staff and student research. The committees do this as part of the approval processes.

Nonetheless, the Safeguarding Statement of Policy and Safeguarding procedures applies if anyone becomes aware of safeguarding concerns within any research activity. It applies at any time, not just with ethical approval.

Safeguarding Students and Apprentices - online training module for all staff

The University has an online training module for staff. The training provides a basic understanding of Safeguarding and the knowledge required to respond appropriately to any concerns Safeguarding.

The Safeguarding E-learning Course aims to equip staff with the confidence to deal with safeguarding issues. It includes recognising signs of neglect and abuse, identifying the steps necessary to report these issues, and explaining how to get support or take action.

This Safeguarding E-learning Course has nine sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Legislation & Guidance
  3. Recognising Abuse
  4. Institutional Abuse
  5. Responding to Abuse
  6. Disclosure
  7. Whistle Blowing
  8. Prevent
  9. Assessment – a quiz at the end of the course

This Safeguarding E-learning Course should take around 45 minutes to complete.

Please visit the E-Learning Portal to access the online module.