How the University responds to concerns
It can be difficult to raise concerns, especially if you suspect there is an issue, but are not certain, or have no evidence. Uncertainty can prevent people from coming forward as they worry that they are wrong. However, be assured that it is for professionals to consider the information available to determine whether further investigations are required, or not. The best thing to do is share the information you have, or your concerns, so the appropriate action can be taken by relevant people.
If you have any concerns, or had concerns raised with you, you must contact the Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) immediately and send them the completed Form for Reporting Safeguarding Concerns (SC01).
The DSO will consider whether the concern is a safeguarding concern, will consult with the relevant statutory authorities (e.g., Social Services Gateway Teams, PSNI) and will ensure appropriate information is available to accompany all referrals. The University will assist as required with any statutory investigations. The DSO will keep relevant people informed about any action taken/required and will maintain case records of all concerns considered for referral.
If a concern has been raised about the behaviour/conduct of a student (including student workers), the DSO will liaise with the Director of Academic and Student Affairs. Concerns about the behaviour/conduct of an employee or worker will be raised with the Director of People and Culture.
All such concerns will be considered and investigated under the relevant University regulation/policy (e.g. Conduct, Disciplinary, Fitness to Practice etc.). However, it may be the case that internal investigations will have to be paused pending the outcome of a referral to, or an investigation by, a statutory agency.
The University will liaise with the relevant regulatory bodies in relation to their procedures for dealing with concerns raised about any staff and students who have/will be registered with them.
If the alleged conduct has taken place on the premises of an external organisation, the University will liaise with this organisation in terms of investigating the allegations.
The University reserves the right to take appropriate emergency action in the event of an allegation being made against an organisation using University premises or accommodation.
Where a staff member, student or member of the public raises concerns regarding a parent’s behaviour towards their child on University premises/at a University event, the matter should be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Officer.
Childcare Services has specific procedures in place when dealing with suspected cases of abuse within its service provision.
The University may be required to report safeguarding issues to the Charity Commission.
The University realises that raising concerns can be highly distressing and as such will put in place support mechanisms for the individual who has suffered from the alleged inappropriate behaviour, harm or abuse, or anyone raising concerns on their behalf.
Where an allegation is made by a child or adult at risk against a student, employee, worker working with a placement body (e.g., a HSC organisation/employer), Queen’s will work with the placement body to ensure that appropriate support services are offered to the complainant. Support mechanisms will also be offered to the person against whom the allegations have been made.