Safeguarding means protecting children and vulnerable adults who are at risk of harm, abuse, neglect, exploitation, discrimination or being drawn into radicalisation.
A child is someone under the age of 18. Some students and employees may be children during their work or study at the University.
A vulnerable adult is someone who is unable to safeguard their own interests and are at risk of harm because they are affected by disability, mental disorder, illness or physical or mental infirmity.
Members of the University community may come into contact with children and vulnerable adults in many different ways, for example whilst studying or on placement, through sports or society activities, or through summer schools or outreach activities.
All members of the University community have an essential role to play in ensuring that children and vulnerable adults are protected.
Examples of harm or abuse in terms of safeguarding include:
- Physical harm (see also the physical violence page): physical assault, inappropriate restraint or sanctions, making someone purposely uncomfortable (for example, not allowing or helping a vulnerable person access the facilities), etc.
- Sexual harm (see also the sexual harassment and sexual assault pages): inappropriate intimate contact, rape, sexual assault, indecent exposure, etc.
- Psychological harm: humiliation, blaming, controlling, threatening, intimidating behaviours, verbal abuse, removing mobility or communication aids or leaving someone unattended when they need assistance, etc.
- Financial or material harm: stealing money or valuables from a person, coercing a person to give them money, exploiting a person’s assets (for example, unauthorised use of a car) etc.
- Neglect and acts of omission: failing to provide appropriate support and welfare for a child or vulnerable person e.g. not providing access to canteen facilities for a student to eat, or failing to provide appropriate accommodation for a person who had a physical disability.
Possible indicators that someone is being abused or neglected include (but are not limited to):
- changes in behaviour, such as becoming quieter
- withdrawing from activities, contact or communication
- losing weight of appearing malnourished
- struggling with money
- having cuts, bruises or injuries that can’t be explained.
Other ways to report
- Report to the police
- Call 101 for non-emergencies (call 999 for emergencies)
- Go to your local police station. The St Andrews police station Is located on 68 Pipeland Road, St Andrews, KY16 8JW
- Contact CrimeStoppers to report anonymously. CrimeStoppers often passes information to the police. You can call 0800 555 111 or report online to CrimeStoppers.
- Report online abuse to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre. Use the CEOP online report system to make a report.
If you would like additional support, there are many resources available for both students and staff. Please see the how to get support page
for more information.
- ChildLine – if you’re a child or young person, ChildLine will listen to you and help you work out what to do next.
- ParentLine Scotland provides support for anyone caring for or worried about a child.
- If you’re an adult and worried about a child, the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) have professional counsellors who can give help, advice and support.
- Sense is an organisation committed to safeguarding children, young people and adults. If you are concerned about yourself or somebody else, Sense can provide advice or help.
- If you’ve been affected by a crime, contact Victim Support Scotland. Victim Support offers phone, live chat, and other online support.
If someone you know is experiencing a safeguarding issue
If you are concerned that a child or vulnerable adult is being harmed or neglected, you can help in the following ways:
- Listen. Taking the time to listen and talk about what has happened can help.
- Signpost options. Ask them if they’re okay to talk through some possible options for support or how they might report what has happened. Do not take on the role of a counsellor or therapist.
- Report on their behalf. If you feel able to, you can report on behalf of a child or vulnerable adult who may not be able to do this for themselves.