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ProtectED is the first UK higher education accreditation scheme to look comprehensively across this broad area. The need for ProtectED is rooted in the recognition that universities have a wider role to play in supporting the safety and wellbeing of their students — not only while they are on campus, but throughout their student experience.
ProtectED accreditation is designed to assess the extent to which universities provide the services and structures that enable students to avoid problems and focus on their success.
The ProtectED Code of Practice is comprised of five areas — 'Core Institutional Safety & Security' and four focused instruments that address specific areas of student safety and wellbeing.
The structure of ProtectED
At the heart of ProtectED is partnership working — because student safety, security and wellbeing are a matter of collaboration rather than the responsibility of one service.
What is required is a ‘joined-up’ approach across the student experience with effective collaboration between all relevant stakeholders — both internally within different areas of the institution, and externally with supporting agencies and stakeholders.
For this reason, the ProtectED structure is built around the ProtectED Safety & Wellbeing Partnership (PSWP), with this group playing a supportive
role in all areas of ProtectED.
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Why is ProtectED needed?
University can be an exciting and rewarding time for students, many of whom may be living independently for the first time. However, we know that university life can be at times stressful and a source of anxiety. This can relate to all manner of factors, including problems with studies, relationship issues, financial difficulties or becoming a victim of crime. Students need support to help them deal with such problems, to ensure they gain maximum benefit from their university experience and to reduce the risk of them being unable to complete their studies.
The need for ProtectED is rooted in the recognition that universities have a role to play in supporting the broader safety and wellbeing of their students — not only while they are on campus, but throughout their student experience.
The evolving role of university safety, security and wellbeing services
Historically, HEI security has focused on protecting campus facilities and ensuring the safety of the institutional estate. Generally, it has not considered the wider student experience.
ProtectED is founded on the firm belief that HEIs have a broader role in relation to student safety, security and wellbeing.
Traditionally, HEI security work concentrated on preventing and detecting crime. Current university security personnel are increasingly attending to issues related to safeguarding and student wellbeing. Indeed, ProtectED research found that attending to ‘student welfare’ was rated the second most common issue dealt with by university security officers — between ‘anti-social behaviour’ (rated number one) and ‘drugs’ (rated number three). ProtectED reflects this widening role for university security staff, who can spend the majority of their time dealing with issues that are more closely related to wellbeing and pastoral care than the common conception of 'security'.
This broader, student-centred approach adopted by ProtectED is widely endorsed, with the Code of Practice supported by key stakeholders in the
higher education and security sectors: including AUCSO, the SIA and IPSA.