Critical Incident Database: Frequently Asked Questions

Which incidents should be reported?

Any incident involving students who are participating in off-campus programs that prevents a student from participating for 24 hours or more should be reported. Incidents may be submitted at any time.

Your institution may find it useful to submit incidents for off-campus domestic programs in order to track information required by the Department of Education (Clery, VAWA and Title IX). The Forum will only report aggregate data for abroad programs.

Who can submit incidents?

Each organization has one designated CID Authority. The CID Authority may appoint field staff as reporters for the organization who then have the ability to submit incidents. Incidents submitted by field staff will be sent to the CID Authority for approval and editing before they are uploaded to the CID.

Who will see my institution’s data?

The CID Authority will view all incidents submitted by field staff at your institution or organization. Field staff can only see the incidents they submit themselves.

The Forum does not collect information that would identify individuals involved in incidents. Data that is collected is managed according to The Forum’s Data Ownership and Management Policy. For use in public reports and presentations prepared by The Forum, all institutional identifiers are removed and the data is culled into an aggregate data set. All prepared reports are publicly available on The Forum’s website.

What if my student was involved in an incident on a provider program?

The home institution should track any incidents involving their students, even on programs they don’t operate. Incidents involving non-matriculated students who are on programs that your institution/organization operates should also be included. When preparing reports, data are closely reviewed to eliminate double reporting.

Why do you need a list of our current programs?

In order to put the incidents you submit into context, we need to collect information about the total number of students you send abroad, to where, and for how long. This data is collected when you apply to participate in the CID and reconfirmed annually at the end of each academic year.

Is the CID only for credit-bearing programs?

You may submit incidents for credit and non-credit programs, even if your office isn’t ultimately responsible for the non-credit programs. If you are tracking non-credit programs, it is important to include these programs in your list of current programs each year, as well.

We have our own incident tracking system, can we still contribute?

In addition to serving as a tool for Forum members, The Forum uses the CID to collect large-scale data that is used to analyze patterns and challenges in the areas of health, safety, security and risk management for education abroad. For that reason, The Forum is very happy to receive data from members who choose not to use the CID, as well.

If you can provide similar information regarding incidents to that which is collected in the CID, then you may contribute your information to The Forum’s critical incident research efforts via an Excel spreadsheet. Please contact for additional information.

How was the CID developed?

The Critical Incident Database was piloted by The Forum in 2010, and its content and format improved based on feedback from the pilot participants. As those changes were being implemented, The Forum learned of significant changes to the Department of Education’s Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting that affected education abroad with regard to The Clery Act. So, in 2011, The Forum further refined the Critical Incident Database to incorporate elements of Clery-mandated reporting on critical incidents. In 2012, volunteer institutions were invited to beta-test the new and improved CID and were asked for feedback regarding ease of use and the usefulness of the tool. After more than a year of collecting feedback on the beta version, The Forum launched the Critical Incident Database on August 15, 2013. Due to changes in Forum website technology, a new edition of the Critical Incident Database was developed in 2017-18. Underwritten by the generous support of AIFS, the AIFS Foundation and Terra Dotta, the new CID features improved data visualization and a user-friendly interface. Beta-testing of the 2018 edition of the Critical Incident Database occurred between April 1 and June 30, 2018.  The fully functional CID is now available for use by all member institutions.