King’s College London is committed to providing a safe environment for all students and staff whilst studying and working at King’s College London.
We understand that some of our students can have to navigate complex personal circumstances at times, and our Student Support Services and Student of Concern Procedure have been developed in response to this.
We will always work to ensure that disclosures you make to our range of student support services are kept confidential, unless explicit permission has been given to share the information.
However, King’s has a duty of care to safeguard the welfare of our students and any relevant vulnerable groups. We will assess your need and level of risk, and aim to support you in the most appropriate way.
Important to know: Depending on your situation, we may need to engage with another service, such as the emergency services, community mental health services or specialist support services within local authorities.
To enable us to support you, we have procedures in place to help staff safeguard our students.
To see this guidance, you can view:
Are there any circumstances where information may be shared without my consent?
There will be circumstances where information may be shared without your consent.
Where there is an emergency or serious risk to safeguard you
Where you are under 18 or you a vulnerable adult and still at risk
If there is an ongoing risk of serious harm to you or others
Where there has been a breach of confidentiality, the sharing of information will be limited and proportional, disclosing enough information to address the identified risk of harm to you and/or others.
Understanding consent-sharing in various circumstances
Here are some examples of scenarios where a concern around risk of harm to self or others would result in information being shared with a third party:
Student A told their Personal Tutor that they had not been able to attend lectures because of difficulties at home.
The student’s mother has left the family home and the student is caring for two siblings, aged 9 and 12. Their mother has been gone for several weeks and there is no support from extended family, they are struggling financially and feeling overwhelmed.
The student is told by their Personal Tutor that a Student of Concern referral will be raised due to concerns about both the student and siblings.
- A Specialist Welfare Adviser contacts the student, and they explore what help could be put in place within the university.
- The student is provided with food vouchers and an emergency loan.
- The Adviser explains that a referral to the local authority will have to be made to ensure that the student and siblings wider support and safeguarding needs are assessed.
- Consent is requested from the student but, under these circumstances, not required.
Student B is a third year medical student about to go out on placement. They submitted a Mitigating Circumstances Form indicating that they recently took an overdose of medication and declared feeling disappointed that they had failed to take their life. The student is asking for an extension on an assignment.
- A SOC referral is raised by the faculty, as a result the KCL Mental Health Team reaches out to the student who completes a risk assessment. The assessment indicates that the student is at high risk of harm to themselves.
- The student then stops engaging with the Mental Health Team.
- Due to concerns around the student’s risk of harm to themselves, the Mental Health Team writes to the student’s GP to share concerns around mental health.
- The Mental Health Team tells the student that they are taking these steps to safeguard their wellbeing, but consent to share is not required under these circumstances.
Student C is studying an MA in English Literature. They are struggling with an assignment and tell their tutor that the subject matter has been quite triggering.
The student discloses that they were sexually abused by a teacher at school, they know that the teacher still works there, and is worried about the risk the teacher may pose to the children at the school.
- The tutor signposts the student to support around their own wellbeing and welfare.
- They then tell the student that a disclosure like this will have to be flagged in a Student of Concern referral, as there are concerns about risk of harm the teacher may present to others.
- Under these circumstances, if the university is aware of the name of the alleged perpetrator, then they can share this information without consent. However, the student is under no obligation to name the perpetrator and no pressure will be put on them to do so.
Student D is a second year Nursing student. They disclosed to a Disability Adviser that they have developed an alcohol misuse problem and are drinking up to half a bottle of vodka per day.
- The Disability Adviser raises a SOC referral and the student is told this is going to happen.
- The SOC referral will aim to ensure that the student is supported and that any concerns around participation in placement are addressed with the faculty.
- The student is encouraged to disclose their circumstances to their department themselves.
- As they are working with vulnerable groups, the safeguarding concerns flagged by their disclosure will need to be shared with appropriate members of faculty.
- Under these circumstances, this information can be shared without consent.