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Online Safeguarding in Higher Education

Student safeguarding is a well-established responsibility for higher education in the UK but responsibilities for online safeguarding are only recently becoming recognised across the sector. Online harms are well acknowledged in the compulsory educational sector as exemplified by the Ofsted inspection framework (2018) and the Department for Education’s (2018) Keeping children safe in education statutory guidance for schools and colleges, do not cease when young people enter into late adolescence and early adulthood.

The University of Suffolk, working closely with expert professionals and academics, wants to break down myths and misnomers of online abuse, and explain how to keep students safe.

Download the Higher Education Self Review Tool here: 


Read more via our recently published Wonkhe article: Being digital natives won't protect students from online abuse


The Digital Civility Project

What is Digital Civility?

Digital Civility refers to the interactions you have online, and includes interactions with others, online risks and safety online. So, are your interactions with others online civil, are you treated with respect, are they courteous and are your interactions without abuse and personal attacks (Microsoft, 2018)?

The Digital Civility project at the University of Suffolk is an innovative initiative that received funding through the HEFCE Catalyst fund. The University aims to increase digital civility, improve the online safety of students in relation to online abuse, harassment, and hate crime over the coming year, with the support of the University of Suffolk Student Union, Student Services and Suffolk Institute for Social and Economic Research. 

  • Over the year 2017/2018, the university will provide and promote various educational materials, media campaigns, workshops and seminars on several aspects of online risk, such as indecent images and revenge pornography, devised and led by experts in the field.
  • It is envisaged that adopting a whole university and community-led approach, as well as identifying ‘what works’ for our students, should enable a substantial improvement in student digital safety and wellbeing.

In addition to the Blurring Boundaries and Virtual Violence conferences, consisting of workshops and talks from various experts within the field of online safeguarding, we have held training workshops and seminars for both staff and students. These include responding to disclosures of online sexual abuse and reporting and removing indecent images online. Furthermore, discussion groups as well as awareness raising materials and educational resources have and will continue to be employed across the campus, the VLE and social media.

News and events

Digital Civility Survey!

We care about your experiences online. As a part of this project we are asked students to complete a digital civility survey so we can identify what yours and your family and or friends experiences are online in order to improve our response to student experiences of online harassment and risk. The survey has now closed, so keep an eye on this page for further news about the project findings and outcomes. 

Have your Say! Digital Experience Discussions: 

As a part of this project we also held discussion groups with students to better understand your experiences of being online. Thank you to those students who volunteered their time to participate, the project would not have been possible without your valuable insight. If you are a student and would like to discuss your participation in the project, or future participation in similar projects please email Katie Tyrrell at the University: 

Online Campaign: #DigitalCivilityUni - Keep an eye out on the University of Suffolk, Student Union and SISER social media platforms for updates and resources!

Online Training Opportunities for University of Suffolk Students and Staff

Consent Matters Training (Staff and Students): 

Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence (Staff):

For both, simply register with your email address! 

If you have any issue accessing these courses, please contact Chantalle Hawley 

If you have any concerns you can talk to someone in Student Services in complete confidence by contacting, or if you have a safeguarding concern please contact

Contact, support and resources


Is your data safe?

Click here to watch the Cifas 'Data to go' video. This video was created by Cifas for it's 2016 campaign about identity fraud. To find out more about how to protect your identity online, please visit:

Revenge Porn Helpline

Have you had your intimate images posted online without your consent? This is image-based sexual abuse. The Revenge Porn Helpline are there to support you. Call 0345 6000 459 or email: 

Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)

Did you know, 24% of 18-24 year olds wouldn't report an indecent image of a child online. Under 18 is underage. If you see content online that concerns you, don't watch it. Confidentially report it to: 

Projects and Publications

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Suffolk Research Blog

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