Trusted Contact Guidance
What is a Trusted Contact?
A Trusted Contact is a person that an Aberystwyth University student nominates to be someone who can be contacted when there may be serious concerns about their safety and/or wellbeing. It is likely that most students will choose for their Trusted Contact to be a parent, carer, or a member of their family. A Trusted Contact can though be someone else if they are over the age of 18 and agree to act in this capacity.
A Trusted Contact should not normally be another Aberystwyth University student or staff member, unless they are also the parent/guardian/partner/close family member. It is for our students to decide who their Trusted Contact is, but we do encourage that the person chosen is someone who they trust and who they are comfortable asking for help and support.
Why do students need to have a Trusted Contact?
At Aberystwyth University, we are a community that cares. We are committed to doing all that we can to support our students, which includes working in partnership with them and, where it is appropriate, members of their support network.
To help us achieve this, we ask that all students provide us with the contact details for their Emergency and Trusted Contacts should it be necessary to contact them for their help and support.
The transition into and through university can be exciting. It can though at times be challenging. Our students when arriving may have a support network, be that family, friends and/or other supporters. It can as such be helpful for our student if a Trusted contact and, when necessary, other members of their support network be there to offer support and reassurance.
What do I need to do if I am a student?
We will ask you when registering each year to provide the contact details for your Trusted Contact. New students will do this when they also provide emergency contact details, details of their GP/Doctor etc.
For returning students it is a case of reviewing and deciding whether you are happy with the current Trusted Contact or whether you would like to make a change to the details.
You can update these details at any point, and you can expect to receive notifications through the academic year to remind you to check your personal details to make sure that they are up to date.
We ask that all students make sure that they have the permission of their Trusted Contact before they add or update their student record. We would encourage you to share a link to these webpages in order that your Trusted Contact knows what the role entails and when we would consider making contact.
What do I need to do if I am a Trusted Contact?
If a student has chosen you as their Trusted Contact, then it is because they trust you and would like you to be the person who the University contacts should there be any serious concerns about their safety and/or wellbeing.
As a university, contact with Trusted Contacts will be infrequent, and wherever possible we will try to involve our students in any decisions when we are considering contacting their Trusted Contact.
If you have any concerns about a student’s wellbeing and/or safety, then do not hesitate in contacting the University. You can contact the University’s Security team 24/7 by calling 01970 622 649. If it is not an urgent matter, then please feel free to contact our Student Services team – you can do so by emailing email@example.com or by calling 01970 621 761
When might the University consider contacting Trusted contacts?
We will not normally make contact with a student’s Trusted Contact without their consent. The Trusted Contact we use will be the person most recently identified by the student in their student record, and who remains the named Trusted Contact at the time the support is needed. If we are to contact this person, we will normally discuss this with the student at the time. Examples might include:
- Where the student agrees with a student support professional who is supporting them that they would like us to contact the Trusted Contact;
- Where the student asks a member of staff to contact their Trusted Contact. This might be because the student is unwell and/or does not feel able to make contact themselves.
There will be some exceptional circumstances where we may decide to contact a student's Trusted Contact without their consent. This will be undertaken following an assessment of risk, where we are unable to contact/engage with the student and where we have serious concerns about a student's safety and/or wellbeing.
The following are some examples of when this may be considered (please note that this list is not exhaustive)
- attending or being admitted to hospital in an emergency
- suffering a serious physical injury, including self-harm
- ceasing to engage with studies and/or professional support and not responding to repeated attempts to contact you
- not being seen recently in accommodation/hall of residence and not responding to repeated contact attempts
- having an ongoing serious illness, and appearing to deteriorate
- experiencing a mental health crisis where there are serious concerns for your welfare.
Every circumstance is considered on a case-by-case basis. We will not use your Trusted Contact without authorisation by senior staff in the Student Services team and ordinarily it would be with the consent of the student.
What is the difference between my Emergency and Trusted Contacts?
For many students, it may be that the same person is their Emergency and their Trusted Contact. This won’t be the case though for everyone.
Your Emergency Contact will be used very rarely and only in the most serious of circumstances. This would usually be where there is an immediate need and where it is in the vital interests of the student. This would also likely be where Emergency services have raised a concern and have requested this information because of serious concerns and/or an emergency situation.
Do I have to provide a Trusted contact?
You are not legally required to provide a Trusted contact to us. However, it is in your best interests and as such we strongly recommend that you do so.
Can I change my Trusted Contact?
It is important you take ownership of your nominated Trusted Contact and review it regularly. You can change your nomination at any time in your student record.