Responding to a report of a missing student
What staff should do and who they should contact if a student is missing.
During induction, you should make clear to all students that they are expected to comply with University attendance requirements.
Personal Tutors and Supervisors should play an active role in monitoring the attendance and wellbeing of students allocated to their care.
Report any concerns to your line manager and/or Student Services without delay. Academic departments and the Accommodation Office should also liaise directly with each other at an early stage about any concerns they may have.
Step 1: Investigate the absence
Any unplanned absence that is concerning or longer than two weeks should be immediately investigated within the student's academic department and their university or private accommodation. Avoid causing undue alarm.
This may include:
- emailing, telephoning and writing to the student
- contacting their friends, housemates and fellow students
- reviewing their social media activity
At this stage, this should not include contacting parents, emergency contacts or other third parties external to the University.
Step 2: Contact the Director of Student Services
If, after these enquiries, you haven't found the student, contact their academic department. They will contact the Director of Student Services who will coordinate the University's response to the situation.
The Director of Student Services will try again to find the student and assess the possible level of risk involved. This may include:
- searching the student's University Hall of residence room, for clues to their whereabouts
- asking the Students' Union, Security Services, Computing Services, Sports Training Village and the Library for any electronic evidence of the student's whereabouts
- establishing last known contacts and whether the student has shown any unusual patterns of behaviour
If the Director of Student Services considers there to be grounds for concern about the student's wellbeing, they will use the student's emergency contact number to contact family or friends.
Step 3: Reporting the student as missing
If, after these enquiries, the location and wellbeing of the student cannot be confirmed, the Director of Student Services will report the student as missing to the Police and/or their Embassy, and become the main University point of contact for the Police.
They will inform the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching), the relevant Dean, the Head of Corporate Communications and the Director of Academic Registry to ensure any incoming enquiries can be dealt with appropriately.
Step 4: Supporting the found student
Once the student is found, confirm that they are safe and well.
Their Director of Studies or Personal Tutor should remind them about the University attendance requirements. They will explain how to inform the department of planned absences lasting longer than two weeks.
The department will also offer support to help address any underlying difficulties.