Child protection in Scotland Legislation, policy and guidance
The Scottish government is responsible for child protection in Scotland. It sets out policy, legislation and statutory guidance on how the child protection system should work.
Child Protection Committees (CPCs) are responsible for child protection policy, procedure, guidance and practice at the local authority level. CPCs make sure that all the different local agencies, such as children's social work, health services and the police, work together to protect children.
The key guidance for anyone working in Scotland is Scottish Government (2014) National Guidance for child protection in Scotland.
This act provides the legislative framework for Scotland's child protection system. It sets out:
- parental responsibilities and rights, and
- duties and powers public authorities have to support children and intervene if there are concerns about a child.
Provides definitions of sexual offences and consent. Part 4 of the Act provides for offences relating to sexual behaviour towards children. Part 5 provides for offences concerning sexual abuse of trust. Came into force on 1 December 2010.
Building on the aims of the Early Years Framework, this act aims to put children and young people at the heart of planning and services to make sure their rights are respected across the public sector.
Policy and guidance
National guidance for child protection in Scotland
Updated in May 2014 – the National guidance for child protection in Scotland provides the current guidance and a national framework for anyone who could face child protection issues at work. Further guidance has been published for health professionals, and protecting disabled children.
Child protection committees will have their own inter-agency child protection procedures which are based on the national guidance.
Getting it right for every child
Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) is the Scottish government's approach to making a positive difference for all children and young people in Scotland. Its principles help shape all policy, practice and legislation that affects children and their families.
It provides a consistent way for people to support and work with all children and young people in Scotland. It aims to improve outcomes for children and make sure that agencies work together to take action when a child is at risk or needs support.
GIRFEC says children should be:
GIRFEC is based on 10 core components that can be applied in any setting and any circumstance. Progress is measured through a set of 8 wellbeing indicators that are the basic requirements for all children and young people to grow and develop and reach their full potential.
The GIRFEC approach is reinforced by measures in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 which will come into force from 2015.
The Early Years Framework
Published in 2008, the Early Years Framework aims to give all children a better start in life by focusing on prevention and early intervention from pre-birth to age 8.
It sets out 10 changes that need to take places over ten years to improve outcomes for children.
Underpinned by GIRFEC, the Early Years Framework is one of 3 interlinking frameworks that provide the cornerstone of the Scottish government's social policy. The other two frameworks are:
- Equally Well - focusing on health inequalities
- Achieving Our Potential - focusing on poverty and income inequality.
(Scottish Government, 2008)
Support our research
Research like this helps keep children safe from abuse – but we can’t do it without our generous supporters.
Child protection training
We offer a range of online and face-to-face training courses for people who work with children to help you gain the skills to act appropriately and confidently to keep children safe.
We hold the UK's largest collection of child protection resources and the only UK database specialising in published material on child protection, child abuse and child neglect.