Information Services

The Digital Safety Supporter Toolkit

The Digital Safety Supporter Toolkit is intended to support University staff and students who have a keen interest in promoting digital safety by disseminating information and fostering a culture of digital citizenship.

About the Toolkit 

The Digital Safety Supporter Toolkit is intended to support the following members at the University:

  • staff involved in student support, such as academic advisers, wellbeing advisers, student experience teams;
  • students involved in peer support such as peer group mentors, cohort representatives, Student Union representatives, student society leaders;
  • staff and students who are parents or carers, and
  • other individuals within the University community who have a keen interest in promoting digital safety by disseminating information and fostering a culture of digital citizenship. 

It aims to equip staff and students with the necessary knowledge and tools, raise awareness about potential digital safety threats, and develop a framework for effective and empathetic responses to digital safety incidents.

The Digital Safety Supporter Toolkit Information Sessions

We are organising a limited number of 30-minute information sessions introducing the new Digital Safety Supporter Toolkit. By attending, you will understand the digital safety and online harms landscape and the challenges facing the University community in more detail. You will gain more familiarity with support resources available for staff and students and engage in conversation about supporting your community members with their digital safety. 

The sessions will be delivered by Shivani Rao, the Digital Safety Officer, who works to promote a secure and inclusive digital environment for our staff and students, through various activities in digital safety, citizenship and wellbeing such as webinars, communications and collaborations. These sessions will be held on the following dates and times: 

  • April 25 2024 - 15:00 to 15:30 

  • May 1 2024 - 11:00 to 11:30 

  • May 9 2024 - 12:00 to 12:30 

  • May 14 2024 - 11:00 to 11:30

Register for an Information Session

Understanding the Digital Safety and Harms Landscape 

  • PEN America, an American organisation championing free expression, has put together the Online Harassment Field Manual, which includes a glossary of the wide range of behaviours under the umbrella of online abuse.

The Online Harassment Field Manual by PEN America   

  • This page, from RMIT University’s online course on Safety by Design on FutureLearn, puts together a typology of online harms.

Online Risks and Harms: Overview of Online Harms and Risks by RMIT University on FutureLearn

Initiating Conversations 

Initiating conversations about digital safety and wellbeing is a crucial step towards supporting the members of our community in the digital realm. Whether it is sharing information, offering support or discussing sensitive topics, using safe and clear communication is key. When you share these resources or initiate a conversation to understand someone’s digital safety experiences and to support them further, remember to practice active listening by reflecting on what they are saying, asking clarifying questions and showing empathy to build a connection. Encourage your students or peers to share their experiences and to ask questions without the fear of judgement. Also, remember to emphasise the importance of privacy and confidentiality, and offer assurance that you are keen to create a safe space. Some resources for further guidance:

Safeguarding and Disclosures 

Be prepared for the possibility that the initiation of these conversations may help a student, peer or colleague gain the understanding and confidence to disclose negative online experiences. You should review the University’s guidance on supporting students, including information on responding to issues (EASE login required) and safeguarding/students in vulnerable situations. 

Some further resources specific for digital safeguarding:

Reporting a Concern

On receiving a disclosure, you should seek to understand what the individual would like from you, whether that is advice on making a formal complaint, further information on their options, or someone to share their experience with. However, if you are concerned that someone is in immediate danger, you should call 999. Find more information about helping someone in an emergency: 

Crisis or Emergency

University of Edinburgh Resources

Support and guidance provided by the University and the Students’ Association that you can point someone towards if someone you know has been the victim of a digital safety breach.

IS Helpline

If you’ve been the victim of a phishing scam, online fraud, or hack, contact the IS Helpline immediately to report the issue. Your enquiry will then be forwarded to the relevant University department for further action.

Contact IS Helpline

Counselling Services

We know that digital safety breaches can greatly impact mental health and wellbeing. You can access specialist support for a variety of safety concerns, both online and off, through the Staff and Student Counselling Services. 

Student Counselling Services

Staff Counselling Services

Report + Support

The University’s Report + Support platform, managed by the Equally Safe team, allows both anonymous and named reporting of distressing situations related to sexual violence, harassment, sextortion, domestic abuse and stalking. It is recommended you access the platform via VPN from off-campus networks where possible. While reporting an incident through the Report and Support platform does not mean a complaint or conduct investigation is automatically instigated, support staff can discuss incidents further if you make a report by name.

Report + Support

Students' Association Advice Place Guidance on Harassment, Safety & Crime

General safety advice curated by the Students’ Association on what to do if you’ve been the victim of online harassment or discrimination and how to report a crime.

Advice Place Guidance on Harassment, Safety & Crime

Students' Association Advice Place Guidance on Complaints and Conduct

Advice on what kind of behaviour is considered misconduct and how to make a complaint to the University if your digital safety has been compromised.

Advice Place Guidance on Complaints and Conduct

University of Edinburgh Complaints Procedure

This webpage outlines the formal procedure for filing a complaint at the University when frontline resolutions have failed.

University of Edinburgh Complaints Procedure

Staying Updated with the Evolving Digital Safety Landscape

To keep in touch with the evolving technological landscape, you can subscribe to the following email newsletters:

Expand on the panels below to explore specialised supporter resources for staff and students in different roles.

By effectively mobilising these resources, we can foster a community where everyone is supported with their online identities in a safe and respectful online environment.



© Shivani Rao, University of Edinburgh, 2024, CC BY-SA 4.0, unless otherwise indicated. The Digital Safety, Wellbeing and Citizenship resource pages are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike licence, unless otherwise indicated.  For licence permissions of linked resources outwith the university, please check the host website.