Providing us with your emergency contact details
To support your safety and wellbeing, we require all our students to nominate and provide the University with details of one emergency contact as part of the annual registration process. We ask this information so that it is available in the unlikely event that a situation arises where we consider your health, wellbeing or welfare to be at risk.
Who can be an emergency contact
It is your choice who you nominate, but your emergency contact will usually be a parent, family member or guardian who is based within the UK. Most importantly, they must be able and willing to act on your behalf in the event of a serious incident or emergency where we consider your health, wellbeing or welfare to be at risk.
You should ensure your emergency contact is:
- aware that they have been nominated and their contact details have been given to the University for this purpose
- readily contactable - wherever possible, please provide a mobile phone number as well as a landline so that we can contact them quickly if we need to
- able to speak English
Where your emergency contact details are held
Your emergency contact details are held on the University’s student record system, in accordance with the University’s Registered Student Privacy Notice. It is important that all students keep this mandatory information up to date. You can update it at any time by logging into MyEssex.
When we may use emergency contact details
We recognise that you are an individual, and that you expect that information about you is held securely and not shared inappropriately. We will always balance these considerations with your personal circumstances before using the details you have provided and sharing information about you with your emergency contact.
Under current data protection legislation, your personal data may be processed by the University of Essex and transferred to the emergency services and, if necessary, your next of kin or emergency contact, where this is required to protect your vital interests or those of another person. This usually means that you will have been involved in, or that there is a risk of, an incident or an emergency situation where we believe you or others may come to serious or lasting harm.
The following are examples of circumstances in which we might get in touch with your emergency contact and share personal information, but each case is considered on its own merits. These examples include but are not limited to:
- you are exhibiting behaviour that may pose a serious risk to your safety and wellbeing and/or that of others
- you have attended or been admitted to hospital in an emergency
- you have suffered a serious physical injury, including significant self-harm
- you cease to engage with your studies, and we have been unable to contact you to confirm your safety and wellbeing
- you have not recently been seen in your accommodation, we have been unable to contact you and you are considered missing
- you have an ongoing serious illness, and you appear to be deteriorating
- you are experiencing a mental health crisis
- a third party has reported significant concerns and we are not able to contact you to establish your safety and wellbeing
- you have been the victim of a serious crime
Students under 18
In the event that there are concerns about the health, wellbeing or welfare of a student who is under 18 years old, the University is always obliged to contact the student's parent or guardian.
How we decide to contact an emergency contact
Any decision to get in touch with your emergency contact or to share personal information without your consent would be taken by the Head of Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity (or their nominee), or the Head of Campus Safety and Security (or their nominee), and we would inform you of this, unless to do so would increase the risk of harm to you or another person.
Whenever we share personal information about a student with their emergency contact, we keep a record of the justification for this decision, the nature of the information shared, with whom, and the time and date of the disclosure.