The difference between reporting and safeguarding tools

So you’ve heard about Report + Support™; a reporting platform that allows you to track and manage cases of harassment, bullying and misconduct.

It sounds good, but you’ve got a safeguarding system in place already. Is this any different?

This is a question we get asked a lot, so to help you out, we’ve laid out the features of our reporting tool against those of leading Safeguarding tools, so you can see how they work together to give you everything you need to protect learner safety.

What is a reporting platform?

Our reporting platform, Report + Support™, is an online tool that gives learners the ability to speak up about harassment, bullying or any form of inappropriate behaviour that is impacting their wellbeing and safety. 

The platform is accessible 24/7 meaning disclosures of unacceptable behaviour can be made whenever, and wherever the reporting party feels safest to report. 

When accessing the platform, the reporting party is given the option to make a named report or to report anonymously. Anonymous reports give victim-survivors of harassment even more control in how they share their experience. 

The biggest differentiating factor here between our reporting platform and safeguarding tools is the ability for students to speak up about the issues they are being impacted by. This achieves 2 main things:

  • It removes some of the pressure from staff having to notice all learner welfare concerns 

Safeguarding is an important part of a teacher’s or lecturer’s role. In many cases, it may be the only opportunity for intervention when a learner may be at risk. However, the prevalence of harassment and misconduct shows that this is not enough. There is no definitive way of ensuring that members of staff have the ability, training and time to notice all learner welfare concerns. 

With a reporting platform you give learners the ability to come to you. Harassment will impact victim-survivors in different ways, and will not always be identifiable depending on the type of harassment and how a victim-survivor adopts coping mechanisms. Having a reporting platform means that regardless of this, learners have the means to speak up as soon as they’re ready.

  • It gives you a way of seeing and understanding behaviour that doesn’t happen in college

The NUS report on the experiences of sexual harassment in Further Education showed that 87 per cent of sexual harassment experiences at college did not take place during class. Whilst the impact this might have on the victim-survivor might be noticeable to staff, this significantly decreases the likelihood of unacceptable behaviour being picked up. The best person to flag behaviour that is impacting the wellbeing of a learner is the person that has experienced it.

Is it only the victim of harassment or misconduct that can report through a reporting platform?

No, a disclosure can be made by anyone on behalf of anyone. The reporting party can be a witness of harassment, bullying or misconduct speaking up on behalf of a friend or classmate, or letting the college know about an incident because the behaviour made them feel uncomfortable.

This means that the responsibility doesn’t only sit with the victim-survivor to speak up, which can take a long time for them to do if they ever choose to do so.

If a report is made by a witness or a member of staff, this does not always mean that the incident will be investigated and action will be taken without the consent of those involved. This will depend upon the nature of the disclosure, the age of those involved, and the college’s policies related to student protection, and investigations and discipline.

Is the reporting platform customisable?

Once a report is made it’s sent to your team to manage and resolve. The action you’re able to take will always be proportional to the resource within your team, the policies that govern your response, and the information you are given. As a result, you’ll likely want to have control over the questions you ask.

We offer best practice questions, based on a survivor-centric approach to case management, that form the basis of our reporting platform. Our partners can take these questions and go live. They also have the option to adapt the questions to best suit their needs, and the needs of their students.

Can staff track and monitor cases on the reporting platform?

The platform includes a full Case Management System that allows the appropriate team of people to access, review, edit and close cases. The case management system notifies case managers when a new disclosure is submitted. The reporting party has the option to indicate who a report goes to. The assigned case manager can then update the file with notes, imagery, and updates relating to the case.

The Case Management System is a great way to ensure that cases are organised, easy to reference and secure. 

What else can a reporting platform offer?

Analytics

Our analytics dashboard helps you to monitor trends in reporting so that you can see which issues are having the biggest impact on your culture and your learners’ wellbeing. By seeing these trends you can take targeted and informed action. This could include launching awareness campaigns around specific issues, implementing additional security measures in areas that have been flagged as high risk, or increasing support content and signposting to specialist services.

Analytics gives you a broader understanding of the issues your learners are telling you are a concern, so that your investment into intervention strategies is effective and impactful.

Support and Campaigns

Our platform offers more than just a reporting tool. The ‘Support’ section is a place for learners to go to understand their experiences ahead of making a report. 

Sometimes victim-survivors aren’t quite sure how to define the behaviour, they just have a feeling that something wasn’t right. Support articles can help people who might want to report, or that just want to process their experience, by giving them the information they need to make sense of what happened. 

Support articles can be provided by Culture Shift, or, you can upload your own content. See an example here.

Community 

As well as access to the platform, by joining Culture Shift you unlock the knowledge and expertise of our team, and to over 80 additional partners that we work with within Further Education and Higher Education. 

We share this knowledge through events, consultation and within our regular insights and white papers.

We’re on a mission to make the world of study safer and happier. To do this, we use the collective knowledge of all of the institutions that have chosen to join us on our journey. Join our journey by booking a meeting today.

A reporting platform can give access to information, and insights into behaviours that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Whilst safeguarding is a great way of tracking the information that you do know, a reporting platform is the best way to give a voice to your learners so you can understand the reality of student behaviour.

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