Missing Persons Policy


Deeming a student “missing”

All staff and students of Goldsmiths are encouraged to let someone know, if they have serious concerns about the safety or health of another person at the College. The person informed could be:

  • A member of academic staff
  • A member of Halls / Residential staff
  • A counsellor
  • A chaplain or faith adviser
  • The Director of Student Services

Any person in the first four categories is encouraged to tell the Director of Student Services if it is feared that a student is missing – ie their whereabouts is unknown and/or there are concerns about their wellbeing.

Case co-ordinator

A single person, through whom all key information about the student and the circumstances of his/her disappearance flows, will be designated as soon as the disappearance of a student is reported.

The Case Co-ordinator will normally be the Head of Student Support: Alice Speller 020 7919 7050

In her absence (eg on leave), one of the following will act as Case Officer:

  • Head of Student Support (Frontline Services & Advice), Pewist Osman 020 7919 7050
  • Associate Director (Student Support), Sue Tarhan 020 7717 2242

Case co-ordinator responsibilities

1. Attempt to contact the student via phone, email, or any other means. If leaving a message, let the person know that if they do not make contact within a specified time frame, then the local police will be contacted. The message should also make clear that the student’s right to privacy and confidentiality is respected.

2. Check that the student is still enrolled and has not withdrawn from Goldsmiths.

3. Obtain as much factual information from Unit-e as possible about the student:

  • Full Name
  • Student Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Current address
  • Goldsmiths email address
  • Home telephone number
  • Mobile telephone number
  • Any other email address
  • Next of Kin name, address and contact details
  • Home address (if different to above)
  • Course and year

4. Speak to the person who raised the concern, and as far as possible ascertain:

  • when and where the student was last seen, and by whom
  • their state of mind when they were last seen, together with any reason why the student might be vulnerable or there might otherwise be concern for their safety or welfare;
  • whether they were known, or suspected, to be with anyone else (including name(s), contact details etc) at the point when they went ‘missing’
  • whether their absence is typical or out of the ordinary;
  • details of steps already taken to try and contact the ‘missing’ student, together with any outcomes;
  • the names and contact details of those reporting the student as missing.

5. Where relevant, speak to RCCS and conduct a check on whether the student still appears to be living in Hall.

6. Speak to the relevant Departmental  Administrator; seek to find when the student was last in attendance in the Department.

7. Speak to the student’s College friends.

8. Find whether the student was known to the Counselling Service.

9. Find whether the student was known to the Chaplain.

10. Find whether the student was registered with a local doctor and contact the practice.

11. Find whether the student had had any dealings with the Student Centre (appointment with any advice service, fees paid, etc).

12. Find whether the student had had any recent contact with the Students’ Union or was a member of any clubs or societies.

Assuming that none of the above turns up any useful information and that the student has not reappeared:

13. Consider whether to deem the student “missing”.

14. Unless there is a clear reason as to why not, the missing student's family should be contacted at this point.

15. Consider whether to contact the local police. Factors to take into account include:

  • Your assessment of whether this is typical or unexpected behaviour of this student
  • Your assessment of whether the student may be particularly vulnerable (eg age; any physical or mental health issues; recent victim of violent crime or bullying / harassment; any known relationship problems; any known difficulties with alcohol or drugs; recent failure to progress on the academic programme

Note that the police, when a report of a missing person is made, will typically request the information shown in points 3 and 4.
If you are in doubt, it may be best to err on the side of reporting, rather than of not reporting.

16. If a missing person report is made to the police, brief the Communications team: the media may have been alerted to the possibility of someone missing and may ask for “a press statement” or “comment”. Continue to bear in mind the student’s right to confidentiality and privacy.

17. Ensure that the following are aware that the student has been reported as missing:

  • The Warden, and the Registrar and Secretary
  • The student’s Head of academic Department, Senior Tutor, and Personal Tutor or Supervisor
  • Enrolments and Records
  • The Head of IPAD, if appropriate (ie the missing student is international)
  • The Head of RCCS, if appropriate (ie the missing student is resident in Goldsmiths accommodation)

Action upon locating a missing student

It is extremely rare for missing students not to re-appear at some point.  The Case Co-ordinator will advise those listed at point 17 that the student is no longer missing.