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What is QMUL’s safeguarding policy and where can I find it?

Queen Mary University of London has a duty to protect its students and staff and to make appropriate referrals to local safeguarding agencies. The university has a legal and moral responsibility to act on concerns to protect children and adults in need of safeguarding so that the university and/or appropriate agencies can then make inquiries and take any necessary action to protect them 

Allegations are not, however, the only form of disclosure. Safeguarding concerns may arise when someone reports something said by a third party, a suspicious occurrence, or something they have overheard. Such information needs to be reported and handled appropriately by the relevant Principal Safeguarding Officer (see below), who has been formally trained to handle allegations and other disclosure information.

Concerns, incidents or allegations relating to poor practice, bullying or abuse should always be referred as quickly as possible to the relevant Principal Safeguarding Officer who will decide with the Lead Safeguarding Officer the route a referral will take (eg, whether this will be managed internally or referred out to the statutory agencies).

All concerns relating to potential abuse should be referred externally as quickly as possible to ensure that people with the correct expertise undertake any subsequent investigation as this is not the responsibility of the university or its staff. 

Download a copy of the full Safeguarding Policy:

Safeguarding Policy and Procedures - January 2016 [PDF 950KB]

What is safeguarding?

Safeguarding for adults

Safeguarding is defined as ‘protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect’ (Care and Support statutory guidance, Chapter 14). Adult safeguarding is about preventing and responding to concerns of abuse, harm or neglect of adults. Staff should work together in partnership with adults so that they are:

  • Safe and able to protect themselves from abuse and neglect;
  • Treated fairly and with dignity and respect;
  • Protected when they need to be;
  • Able easily to get the support, protection and services that they need.

Safeguarding for children and young people

The Children Act 1989 provides the legislative framework for agencies to take decisions on behalf of children and to take action to protect them from abuse and neglect. Young people who receive leaving or after care support from children and family services are included in the scope of adult safeguarding, but close liaison with children and family services is key to establishing who is the best person to lead or support young people through adult safeguarding processes.
In any adult safeguarding work, staff working with the person at risk should establish whether there are children in the family and whether checks should be made on children and young people who are part of the same household, irrespective of whether they are dependent on care either from the adult at risk, or the person alleged to have caused harm.

Children and young people may be at greater risk of harm or be in need of additional help in families where adults have mental health problems, misuse substances or alcohol, are in a violent relationship, have complex needs or have learning difficulties.

Criteria for assessing a safeguarding concern

The Care Act statutory guidance states that the safeguarding duties apply to an adult who:

  • Has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs); and
  • Is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
  • As a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse and neglect.

For children, the duty is simpler: if they are under the age of 18 and at risk of abuse or neglect, then we have a responsibility to report this as a concern.

General indicators of abuse and neglect which may suggest signs of abuse and neglect include:

  • Unexplained injury or injury inconsistent with explanation
  • Any allegation of mistreatment
  • Refusal to discuss injuries / fear of medical help
  • Sudden and / or significant change in behaviour
  • High levels of stress or anxiety, e.g. self-harming behaviour
  • Unexplained change in presentation
  • Inability to establish or maintain social relationships or activities
  • A sharp reduction in skills, concentration, communication skills and ability to learn
  • Marked change in relationships
  • Lack of trust and low self-esteem

For more information about what constitutes abuse and neglect, please download this document which provides indicators of both abuse and neglect. [Insert ‘types of abuse and indicators of abuse and neglect’ document here].

Who to refer the concern to: who’s who in the QMUL Safeguarding Steering Group

Contact details of the university’s safeguarding team are as follows (the university’s policy specifies that we have a Lead Safeguarding Officer and four supporting Principal Safeguarding Officers, one for each Faculty and one for Professional Services):

  • Sarah Cowls, Director of Student and Academic Services, Lead Safeguarding Officer for QMUL (email:, extension: 7385)
  • Simon Jarvis, Head of Disability and Dyslexia Service, Principal Safeguarding Officer for Professional Services (email: extension: 2765)
  • Zak Liddell, Faculty Student Experience Manager (Science and Engineering), Principal Safeguarding Officer for Science and Engineering (email:, extension 5333)
  • Matt Jacobsen, Student Experience Manager in History, Principal Safeguarding Officer for Humanities and Social Sciences (email: extension: 3371)
  • Natalie McCloskey, Blizard Institute Manger, Principal Safeguarding Officer for Medicine and Dentistry (email: extension: 2298)

Details of any referrals should be sent to the Principal Safeguarding Officer (PSO) for the Faculty that covers the safeguarding concern, e.g. a concern about a medical student would be sent to Natalie McCloskey, or in the case of a concern arising from a central service activity, e.g. a student in university accommodation, to the PSO for Professional Services (Simon Jarvis).

If the relevant PSO is on leave or away from QMUL please send the concern to the Lead Safeguarding Officer or other members of the Safeguarding Steering Group.

How to raise a concern

Please send an email to the relevant member of staff with the words “Safeguarding concern” in the subject title. If you are not sure, make the referral anyway — the relevant officer will discuss the case with you.

A good tip is to ensure that you use clear, objective language.

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