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When working with children and/or vulnerable adults, University staff, students and volunteers are expected to take account of the guidance below in the way that they conduct themselves.

  • Consider the wellbeing and safety of event participants in advance through proper planning and development of safe methods of working/activities.
  • Wherever possible, work in an open environment with children where they can be seen by others.
  • Avoid unnecessary physical contact.
  • Avoid taking a child or vulnerable adult alone in a car on journeys, however short.
  • Avoid taking a child or vulnerable adult to the toilet, unless another adult is present or another adult is aware (this may include a parent, group leader or other responsible person).
  • In a situation where you are alone with a child or vulnerable adult, make sure that others can clearly observe you.
  • Set expectations of the standards of behaviour required from participants in an activity/event and encourage them to accept responsibility for their own performance and behaviour.
  • Ask participants in an activity/event to take reasonable steps to ensure their own safety and that of others, and to report any inappropriate behaviour they experience/witness or any concerns that they may have.
  • Avoid showing favouritism towards particular participants.
  • Report incidents of alleged abuse to the relevant HR Business Manager/Adviser, and ensure that any allegations are recorded.
  • Report any concerns about poor practice to senior management in the relevant department/institution or HR Business Manager/Adviser.
  • Report any accidents to the designated person in the department/institution for recording and investigation where required.
  • Avoid personal relationships with a child or vulnerable adult.
  • It is not appropriate for staff to have a physically or emotionally intimate relationship with a young person under the age of 18. Particular attention is drawn to the provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which created a new criminal offence of abuse of “a position of trust”.
  • Staff, students and volunteers should remember that inappropriate behaviour can also occur over the telephone, email, social media or internet.
  • Only official University or department/institution social media should be used for engaging with the wider community. Inappropriate or abusive comments should be removed swiftly and abusive individuals blocked/reported to the social media concerned. Facebook instant chat and other similar functions should not be used to interact with children or vulnerable adults. Wherever possible, communication should be only public pages and avoid colloquial language/abbreviations which may be misinterpreted (e.g. LOL).
  • Do not make suggestive or inappropriate remarks to or about a child or vulnerable adult, even in fun, as this could be misinterpreted.
  • Participate in training available to you to support you in your work with children and vulnerable adults.
  • First aid treatment should be given with more than one adult present unless a delay would be life-threatening.
  • Do not take children or vulnerable adults to your home.
  • Maintain confidentiality about sensitive information.
  • Where it is necessary for staff, students or volunteers to take photographs or video images of children or vulnerable adults, written consent must be obtained (from parents/guardians in the case of children) before these images are taken in order to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. Personal details and photos which clearly identify an individual must only be published where he/she (or his/her parent/guardian) has given specific agreement. Subjects should be suitably dressed in photographs (e.g. when taking place in a sporting activity).