Messages of concern

These could be in the form of online posts to social media sites, websites, or sent via email. Messages could also be found physically around the University campus, in the form of posters, flyers or graffiti. These should be removed if appropriate and the Central Welfare & Guidance team notified. Dependent on the content of the message, Security may be informed. If the message was found in the Student's Union building, it should be reported to the Deputy Director of Membership Engagement (x28520).

The content of concerning messages could include any form of harassment, extremist views or material, mentions of suicide, hate speech or incitement to violence.

TUOS does not monitor all of its social media sites all the time. Messages of concern could be reported by members of the public, the Media team, CiCS, Security, University staff or students.

Concerns about messages that have been posted by TUOS staff should be directed to HR.

Concerns about messages that have been posted by students should be reported to the Central Welfare & Guidance Team (CWAG): telephone x24321 or email support@sheffield.ac.uk. Students affected by online harassment or cyber bullying can be directed to the Harassment webpages.

What happens next?

  • If the message raises concerns about a student's safety or immediate wellbeing and it is outside of office hours, please contact Security (x24085) for advice
  • CWAG may want to check the message to confirm if it is of concern
  • If the message is on a University managed account - liaison with the relevant page manager to arrange for a screenshot to be taken before the message is hidden or deleted
  • If the message of concern was sent to a student - recommend the student takes a screenshot of the message before hiding or deleting it
  • It will always be recommended that a screenshot is taken of any concerning messages, in case evidence is required
  • Recommend that the person who raised concerns about the message reports it directly to the relevant provider (e.g. Facebook)
  • Member of the CWAG Team may talk to the student who posted the message of concern, to discuss any welfare issues and to advise about their responsibilities, future implications, etc. They may also request that the post be removed
  • Depending on the severity of the post, potential involvement from:
    • Student Conduct and Appeals
    • Security
    • Police/Emergency Services
    • Prevent Lead

Reporting concerns to Central Welfare & Guidance does not mean that the student will be in trouble, or the member of staff who raised the concerns will have no more involvement. CWAG will work together with staff, and will provide updates where necessary.

Please refer to the "Protocol for dealing with messages of concern" document for further information.

Information relating to online safety can be found on CiCs and SSiD webpages.

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