The system across the UK
Child protection system in England
Child protection system in Northern Ireland
Child protection system in Scotland
Child protection system in Wales
Children in care
Legal definition of a child and their rights by law
National case review repository
Child protection register statistics in the UK
Almostin Northern Ireland were identified as needing protection from abuse last year
1,961 children were on child protection registers in Northern Ireland at 31 March 2013. These figures represent children identified and assessed as being at risk of significant harm.
See also our overview of child protection register statistics for Northern Ireland.
There are overin care in Wales.
5,770 children were “looked after” in Wales at 31 March 2013.
Children become looked-after when they are under the care of the local authority. Looked-after children are often referred to as children in care.
545 of these children were living at home with their parents.
3,925 of these children were looked after due to abuse or neglect.
Last yearin Scotland were identified as needing protection from abuse
2,681 children were on the child protection register in Scotland on 31 July 2013.
Overin England were identified as needing protection from abuse last year
43,140 children were the subject of a child protection plan at 31 March 2013. These figures represent children identified and assessed as being at risk of significant harm.
See also our overview of child protection register statistics for England.
When a child is assessed as being at risk of significant harm they are placed on a child protection register (or in England made the subject of a child protection plan). These statistics are not a measure of how much child abuse has occured. Research indicates that abuse and neglect are both under-reported and under-recorded.
But they do give some indication of the scale of the problem across the UK as these are the number of children who are assessed to currently be at risk of significant harm.
How child protection systems have developed
Legislation that enables the prosecution of people accused of child cruelty has been in force since the 1880s but it has taken a series of high profile child abuse deaths and subsequent inquiries to establish the child protection system we have today:
1945 The first formal child death inquiry in England was the Curtis Committee Report into the death of Dennis O'Neill, who was killed at the age of 12 by his foster father.
1973 The death of 7-year-old Maria Colwell led to the establishment of our modern child protection system.
1984 Further changes were prompted partly by the inquiries into several other child deaths, including 4-year-old Jasmine Beckford.
2000 Lord Laming's inquiry into the death of 8-year-old Victoria Climbié led to sweeping changes to the way children's services are structured in England and Wales, which came into force between 2006 and 2008.
2010 A change of government led to a review of the child protection system in England.
2011 Eileen Munro’s recommendations led to a further wave of reforms, focused on making the child protection system more child centred.
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