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Student and Academic Services


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 either the Principal Safeguarding Officer(s) or Lead Safeguarding Officer, who has been 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. 

Our university safeguarding policy is currently being re-written to ensure it is compliant with all recent legislation and any regulatory requirements.  If you have any questions about the welfare of a child or young person, or any wider queries about safeguarding please contact Sarah Cowls or Simon Jarvis (contact details on tab below). 

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 welfare of the child or young person is always paramount. At Queen Mary we will work with young people in multiple different settings and in all of them we have a duty to put the welfare of the child or young person at the forefront of all activity. This means that we have a duty to act where we are made aware of a safeguarding concern regarding children or young people, including those that are not students of the university. If you have any concerns that a child or young person is at risk of harm it must be raised with one of the safeguarding officers listed in the section below without delay.  

Further information on safeguarding is available at safeguarding in the Westfield Nursery

Our admissions policy for under-18s also provides further information.

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].

Details of Safeguarding Officers

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).
  • Norman McBreen, Faculty Education Manager (Science and Engineering), Principal Safeguarding Officer for Science and Engineering (email:, extension 5333).
  • For Humanities and Social Sciences, please contact Sarah Cowls or Simon Jarvis (details above).
  • 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 Principal Safeguarding Officer for your Faculty or Principal Safeguarding Officer (Professional Services) or Lead Safeguarding Officer 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.

This session is designed to enable you to understand what 'Safeguarding' is all about and who might be at risk of harm or abuse.

It will take you through some of the language and information that guides us, help you recognise situations that should trigger further action, and will signpost you to what you should do if you have any Safeguarding concerns.

To complete the QMPlus module follow the link: Safeguarding Essentials E-Learning.