Safe Harbour Scheme
Several support structures have been implemented at Queen's to promote a safe, supportive and professional work environment. Some staff may never have any need of an anti-harassment advisor, or a professional misconduct investigation and that is certainly a good thing. However, the need for a confidential* service to allow staff to raise concerns about their work environment outside of the existing line-management structure has been raised by respondents to the School Survey. In response to this need, the school has implemented this new scheme, appointing four members of academic staff as 'safe harbours'.
*Please note: confidentiality is not assured in cases where there exists an unacceptable risk to a member of staff, student or to the institution.
What is the role of the Safe Harbour?
The safe harbours’ role is to listen to your concerns and signpost relevant university procedures, policies and services. The safe harbours are academic staff drawn from different subject areas within the school. PhD students, research and academic staff in the School of Mathematics and Physics are welcome to approach any safe harbour in confidence, particularly if they feel it would be useful to discuss their issue with someone who works in a different part of the school.
The Safe Harbours are happy to have such conversations away from their offices (either on Teams or in person) if that is the wish of the person contacting them.
Why contact a Safe Harbour?
You may approach a safe harbour to discuss more-or-less any issue, but they are in place particularly to be able to discuss issues such as:
- Bullying & Harassment
- Professional (mis)conduct
- Mental Health & Wellbeing
- Work-life balance
It may be that you are not sure whether a particular behaviour constitutes misconduct (for instance). It is expressly for these cases that the safe harbours exist, so do not hesitate to contact a safe harbour for a chat especially if you are unsure.
How do I contact a Safe Harbour?
Safe harbours have an open-door policy, but the practicalities of day-to-day work and commitments such as teaching may mean that they will need to be contacted by e-mail to arrange a meeting in the first instance. The contact details for each of the safe harbours can be found below.
Who are the safe harbours?
Name: Tom Field
Group: Centre for Plasma Physics
Office location: 01.029 in the Main Physics Building
Phone extension: 5349
Name: Ying-Fen Lin
Group: Mathematical Sciences Research Centre
Office location: 01.025 in the Old Physics Building
Phone extension: 1587
Name: Andrew Brown
Group: Centre for Theoretical, Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
Office location: 01.005 in the Old Physics Building
Phone extension: 1910
Who can use the Safe Harbour Service?
The service is aimed primarily at PhD students, postdocs, research fellows and academic staff.
While we are open to being approached by colleagues from professional services or the undergraduate student body, separate support services are in place for those groups.
For professional services staff, there is the Bullying and Anti-Harassment Advisor Network and the Diversity and Inclusion Procedures, whilst for undergraduate students, there are several services within the One Elmwood Student Centre.
Our long-term aim is to expand the safe harbour scheme to include our colleagues in professional services.
What can the Safe Harbour do?
- Listen to staff who believe they are being mistreated in any way, to clarify the options open to them and to assist them in resolving the matter informally where possible.
- Where requested, support individuals throughout the resolution of their concerns. This may include discussing with the individual what they may wish to say or write to a person who they feel has harassed or bullied them (for instance) or to a senior member of staff who can take action.
- The aim is to empower and support the individual.
- Deal with all cases with the utmost confidentiality except in cases where there is an unacceptable risk to a member of staff, student or to the institution.
- Signpost other appropriate support.
What can the Safe Harbour not do?
- Make statements to the effect that particular behaviour definitely constitutes harassment, bullying or misconduct that will lead to disciplinary action or to the effect that a particular behaviour is NOT harassment.
- act as your representative or advocate.
- be involved in any formal stage of a resolution process, be it in writing a formal complaint, an investigation, disciplinary or grievance procedures, except by way of giving the support you need during this time.
- Purport to give legal/and or professional advice.