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Guidance for University members

Durham University makes sure that all University members who come into contact with children as part of their job complete safeguarding training at an appropriate level. The University also guarantees that those who are engaged in regulated activity with children will be checked by the DBS to make sure that they are not barred from working with children.


If you are planning or participating in an activity that will involve contact with children, you should familiarise yourself with the University guidelines by reading the information below.

General guidance

NB: This is a list of general considerations and is by no means exhaustive.


If you are planning or participating in an activity that will involve children:

  • Be aware of the needs of children, and be alert for signs of harm or potential harm
  • Take complaints seriously and take appropriate action as soon as possible
  • Report any incidents or accidents as soon as possible, and keep a written record
  • Report any harm or potential harm to a child following the outlined process.
  • Treat everyone with respect and be sensitive to children’s appearance, race, culture, religious beliefs, sexuality, gender, or disability
  • Plan activities to involve more than one person and locate activities within sight of others
  • Provide a safe, caring environment where children and adults feel comfortable to point out attitudes and behaviours they do not like

Note: Refer to the full policy for an extensive list of recommendations for working with children.



Risk assessment

For activities involving children there may be added health and safety risks. A Health and Safety risk template, available from the Health and Safety Services, may be used to capture these risks. Such risk assessments should not be used to assess individual cases of alleged or suspected harm. Such disclosures should be referred through the appropriate channels, as outlined in these webpages.





If you will be engaging in regulated activity with children as part of your role, Durham University will make sure that you complete a DBS check before starting your employment. The University will also provide you with safeguarding training.



Students who undertake programmes of study which involve regulated activity with children are required to complete a DBS check. It is the role of the relevant University departments (such as Education, Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, and Applied Social Sciences) to coordinate these checks. Other departments may need their students to complete a DBS check if they will embark upon a placement, undertake voluntary or research work involving contact with children.

You should contact the DLSO if you have any doubts concerning the need for DBS checks.


Information specific to students

This policy is applicable to all members of the University, including students.

Although the majority of students will not encounter children whilst in a position of responsibility, some will come into contact with children as part of their course (for example, Education or Medicine) or when acting as volunteers or staff (for example during a summer school placement or at an open day). Heads of Department or programme / placement coordinators will tell students whether or not a DBS check is required.

If you find yourself working with children in a position of trust, you should familiarise yourself with the contents of these webpages. Consult the general guidance pages.


Staff guidance note for work experience placements

Please note these guidelines should be read in conjunction with the University's Safeguarding Children Policy.