Child protection in Scotland Statistics

We don't know exactly how many children in Scotland have experienced child abuse. But official statistics do tell us how many children have been identified as needing support or protection.

Last year over 2,700 children in Scotland were identified as needing protection from abuse

Explanation: 2,772 children were on the child protection register in Scotland on 31 July 2015. These figures represent children identified and assessed as being at risk of significant harm.

See also Indicator 14 in How safe are our children? 2016 and our summary of child protection register statistics in Scotland (PDF).

There are over 1 million children under 18 in Scotland

Explanation: There were an estimated 1,033,183 people under 18 years in Scotland in 2014.

People

Last year, over 15,000 children were referred to the Children's Reporter in Scotland

Explanation: Children are referred to the Children's Reporter if compulsory measures of supervision may be necessary to protect the child from harm and/or to address their behaviour. 

In 2014/15, 15,858 children and young people in Scotland were referred to the Reporter: 

  • 14,141 on care and protection grounds
  • 2,891 on offence grounds

There are over 15,000 children in care in Scotland

Explanation: 15,404 children were "looked after" in Scotland on 31 July 2015.

11,477 of these children were living away from home and 3,927 were living at home with their parents.

Scotland does not publish data on why children become looked after. So we don't know how many become looked after due to abuse or neglect.

See also Indicator 17 in How safe are our children? 2016.

Reports of sexual offences against children have increased sharply in Scotland

Explanation: Police recorded 4,082 sexual offences against children in the Scotland in 2014/15.

This was a 9% increase on the 2013/14 figure of 3,742 offences. It is the highest number of sexual offences against children in the past decade.

All 4 nations saw a sharp increase in 2014/15 possibly due to an increased willingness to report abuse following recent high profile sexual abuse cases in the media.

See also Indicator 4 in How safe are our children? 2016.

Concerns about neglect were identified for 37% of children on the child protection register in Scotland

Explanation: In Scotland multiple concerns can be recorded for each child (rather than just the main category of abuse). At case conference concerns about neglect were identified for 1,017 (37%) of the 2,751 children on the child protection register at 31 July 2015.

See also Indicator 14 in How safe are our children? 2016.

Statistics across the UK

England

View official statistics for how many children have been identified as needing support or protection

Find out more

Northern Ireland

View official statistics for how many children have been identified as needing support or protection

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Wales

View official statistics for how many children have been identified as needing support or protection

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More information and resources

Statistics on child abuse

View statistics and information on child abuse and neglect in the United Kingdom.
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