Student safety should be a priority for schools and countries all over the world. University of Salford, United Kingdom is stepping it up. Salford just announced the launch of their new “gold standard – ProtectED” a university accreditation for student safety and wellbeing. Their announcement states, “ProtectED doesn’t just look at security on campus – for too long seen by the sector as our sole concern – it considers the entire student experience, and looks at the wide range of pastoral care for which universities are responsible.”

Here’s how the program works. Staff at Salford partnered with security experts, the British Council, the Security Industry Authority and other organizations to develop a new code of practice for universities to live up to. Schools doing outstanding work look-out for the safety, security and wellbeing of students will be eligible for the “ProtectED” designation. This designation is good news for students and their families, and good news for the schools, possibly boosting enrollment. ProtectEd ‘ code of practice’ also examines the university’s approach to keeping international students safe in particular.

The new system didn’t come about on a whim. According to the announcement, a report from the Office of National Statistics showed a surprising 19 percent of full-time students were victims of crime in the 2014-2015 school year; as opposed to 16 percent of adults in the general population. A 2015 report from the National Union of Statistics showed 78 percent of all students experienced some mental health problems the previous year.  

These are pretty serious figures.  We can infer similar impact for students in the United States, too. Annual reports from Open Doors show the United Kingdom is by far the most popular destination for United States students studying abroad. Thirteen (13) percent of all traveling students went to Great Britain in 2015.  Figures from 2013-2014 show a whopping total of 38,250 students. If 19 percent of all American students studying in the United Kingdom are victims of crime in 2014-2015, we can project 7,265 students’ are impacted.  No reports in the United States forewarn students about perils studying abroad. Knowing these statistics could help students keep their heads in the game!

Now, with ProtedEd, schools in the United Kingdom are truly walking the talk for student safety by beefing up their security, mental health services and working with local authorities, police and healthcare providers as good stewards of student academic experiences. The United States could follow ProtectEd doing similar to save lives and protect students, and possibly avoid penalties of non-compliance with rules like the Jeanne Clery Act.   

Knowing the safest and most reliable campuses plays a huge role in where parents and students decide to earn degrees – or study abroad. Having a mandated, transparent “gold standard” for student safety is very good stewardship by the United Kingdom, the United States could take the lead and model it here.
Learn more about ClearCause’s advocacy to make study abroad programs more accountable for student safety. Teamwork and concrete goals drive positive change. Follow us on Facebook to stay informed. Like this story? Please Tweet!