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.
- Safeguarding of children, vulnerable adults and prevention of radicalisation policy (University of St Andrews)
- Report child abuse (Mygov.scot) has more information on ways to report and links to support sites.
- Signs of child exploitation (CSE the Signs)