A COLLEGE has introduced new safeguarding measures to ensure students can study free from sexual harassment, hate crime, bullying and abuse.
A ‘Report and Support’ platform has been purchased by Darlington College so students can alert staff to any concerns they have about the behaviour of others.
Safeguarding officials at college have enlisted the services of Culture Shift, a company that specialises in the issue.
Students can now report concerns either anonymously or in person if they are troubled by incidents of hate crimes, sexual misconduct, harassment, assault, bullying, discrimination and social media attacks by their peers.
The platform sits on students’ computers and if they choose to remain anonymous they will be sent a host of support material. If they are named then an investigation will be carried out and possible action taken against the perpetrator.
It is also hoped that the platform will deter any potential abuse and even when reports are anonymous, the data the system generates will be used to highlight possible underlying behaviour within departments which can then be tackled head-on.
The data will monitor behaviour, highlight incidents, identify trends and the extent of any issues which will then be addressed by the college’s extensive support team.
Darlington College’s Student Services and Safeguarding Manager Julie Davison said: “This is another vital tool we can use to build trust with the students and encourage them to report to us any behaviour that is impacting on their mental health or safety.”
“We have always made student wellbeing a priority and we have also just updated further our safeguarding and disciplinary procedures. We have a campaign on our college-wide TV network encouraging students to report any inappropriate behaviour and there is also a range of web-based support articles on harassment to help students understand what they might be going through.”
“Ofsted highlighted the scale of sexual misconduct and harassment in schools and colleges around the country and claimed students were failing to report incidents because they had become common place, they felt they would not be believed, or for fear of recrimination.”
“We strongly believe that this type of behaviour has no place in education. If a young person is a victim of any issue it has a massive impact on their ability to concentrate and learn and on their mental health.”
She had high praise for Culture Shift, which has set up the system and trained college staff. “We are really excited about this and believe it is the best way forward to protect all of our students and create the perfect environment in which to learn,” Mrs Davison said.