Safeguarding guidance for working or volunteering with vulnerable groups

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility

Everyone participating in University-related activities plays an important part in the life of our University. Our duty of care means that we have a responsibility to safeguard children, young people, and 'adults at risk' from abuse, neglect and harm.

Keep it professional not personal

This guidance will help you if you are working or participating in activities with:

  • children (anyone under the age of 18 years old)
  • 'adults at risk' who may be more at risk of abuse and neglect because of their care and support needs.

For example, you might be a member of staff supporting students who are under 18 years old, a student ambassador helping on open days, a student on work placement with children or adults at risk, or a contractor working on one of our campuses. Someone may misinterpret your actions, no matter how well intended they are and children and young people are especially easily influenced by what you say and do. It’s important that you know what is expected and understand appropriate contact.

To keep yourself safe from possible allegations and promote a safe space for all, please follow this advice:


  • Display appropriate behaviour
  • Treat everyone with respect
  • Use your work contact details and never give out personal information
  • Report any concerns or incidents, including concerns about behaviour and inappropriate contact initiated by an Under 18
  • Be aware of any signs of abuse or neglect and report this
  • Get parental consent before taking photos of children and always make sure you’re using University equipment
  • Follow the University’s Information Security Policy – for example, always lock your PC or mobile device and keep your login details private. Remember, you’re responsible for what’s on your device
  • Be familiar with the University’s Social Media Policy (.pdf) – this is important if you are posting about University related activity on social media platforms
  • If you are organising or delivering online activities and services to children, make sure you have completed the risk assessment for online activities.


  • Give out your personal phone number or email address and don’t accept a participants personal information
  • Don’t accept friend or follower requests on your personal social media and gaming accounts, or engage in chats online
  • Be on your own with an under 18 – always be with others, ideally in an open and public space
  • Engage in, promote or incite any sexual activity with a minor. This includes 16-17 years old if you are in a position of responsibility
  • Allow yourself to be drawn into any inappropriate attention seeking behaviour
  • Allow any form of bullying or bad behaviour
  • Accept any physical or verbal abuse, whether it is directed at you or someone else
  • Agree to keep a secret, especially when a child is disclosing information or is at risk of harm.

Visiting a school or college?

If you will be visiting a school or college, please read at the NSPCC’s Checklist for Visitors which provides information for people and organisations visiting schools. It’s important that you comply with the school or college’s procedures and understand what you need to do to keep children safe.


It’s not your responsibility to solve or tackle a safeguarding issue. Make sure you know who to report safeguarding information to and you must always report any safeguarding concerns, allegations, or incidents.

Safeguarding in everyone’s responsibility and when safeguarding concerns a child, you are legally obliged to treat this as a matter of priority. Our Policy on Safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk gives details of our statutory obligations.

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