Safeguarding of children at Oxford Brookes

  • Oxford Brookes University recognises its responsibility for the safeguarding of children. It is recognised also that Oxford Brookes University has a general duty of care to provide a safe environment for all those working and studying at the University as well as those who visit the campus.  

    The University regularly invites children and young people to access its facilities and services for a wide variety of purposes. Examples include:

    • outreach activities
    • school visits
    • residentials
    • hosting of work-experience placements
    • Oxford Brookes International
    • Open Days

    There are also a small number of undergraduates who start studies at the beginning of an academic year who are under 18 and specific areas of the University (such as research groups and the Nursery) who have a very specific relationship with children and young people. This policy also extends to students who may work with children for specific reasons such as a research project or volunteering. Many of these activities, involving University members of staff working with children or young people, are away from parent/guardian and/or teacher supervision.

    The University's safeguarding policy is separate to that of individual departmental policies, such as the Nursery or the School of Education, but is intended to be an over-arching set of procedures so that all staff across the University, who might be working with children and/or young people as a regular part of their normal duties, know how to respond if a child/young person discloses abuse and/or shows signs of such. Even if you do not work with children, all staff have a responsibility towards their safeguarding.

    Policy and Procedure for the Safeguarding of Children » 

  • This policy applies to all staff and includes any activity involving children.

    Training and designating specific persons to fill bespoke roles surrounding child safeguarding will enable this policy. Wider awareness raising for all relevant staff will also be provided.

    The University recognises that staff who work regularly with children are best placed to notice changes in behaviour and/or physical injuries. Oxford Brookes staff will therefore:

    • know how to report any unusual/inappropriate behaviour to a Designated Safeguarding Officer and
    • ensure that children know they can approach any of the adults in our establishment if they are worried about something and that they will receive a consistent, supportive response.

    We have trained designated safeguarding officers (DSOs) across the University and on all sites who should be the first point of reference for staff with any child safeguarding-related concerns. However all staff have a role to play in child safeguarding and awareness of our policy and accompanying guidance is important in this respect.

    Safeguarding roles and responsibilities »

    All staff should be aware of the University's safeguarding guidance and procedures, including:

    • recognition of abuse
    • dealing with a disclosure
    • reporting
    • procedures to follow when dealing with allegations
    • guidelines for staff/volunteers working with children and/or young people

    Management guidance and procedures »

    The University recognises that children who have been abused, or witness violence, may find it difficult to develop a sense of self-worth. They can feel helplessness, humiliation and a sense of blame. Brookes may provide the only stability in the lives of some children and we will endeavour to support them by:

    • liaising with other agencies that support children, (eg Social Care and Health) where appropriate;
    • providing opportunities for children to discuss and explore issues around safety and ensuring children know who to talk to in Oxford Brookes if they need help and
    • promoting a positive ethos within Oxford Brookes, giving children the sense of being safe, supported and valued.

    It is recognised that staff may need support after receiving a disclosure from a child and appropriate counselling will be offered by the University.

    The University aims to ensure the safeguarding of children attending University premises or activities, as far as is reasonably practicable, by ensuring that the following general measures are implemented:

    • Existing risk assessments would normally be undertaken for activities involving children. Any other significant hazards, not already covered in the existing risk assessments, that may arise from having children on University premises must also be risk assessed. It will be the responsibility of the Faculty/ Directorate to seek guidance from the University Safety Officer on this matter. Where no current risk assessment exists it is advisable for one to be conducted.
    • Safe recruitment practices are utilised to prevent unsuitable people working with children. This includes the use of Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks where necessary. For further information, see relevant DBS policies on GOV.UK.
    • Designated Safeguarding Officers (DSOs) within the University will be in place and trained in safeguarding issues.
    • All staff, regardless of role, will be made aware of, and be familiar with, the University’s safeguarding policy and procedure.
    • Volunteering/community-based activities are also included where they necessitate a DBS check.