Safeguarding deaf and disabled children Legislation, policy and guidance

Each of the 4 nations in the UK has its own child protection system and laws to protect children from abuse and neglect. The legislation protects all children equally. However, some parts highlight or refer specifically to extra support and protection for disabled children.

We’ve listed where these references are made in child protection legislation and guidance in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Legislation

 Child protection legislation includes sections that address the needs of disabled children.

Children and Families Act 2014

Part 3 establishes help for children with special educational needs and disabilities, including a single assessment process and personal budgets.

View part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014

Equality Act 2010

Provides protection from discrimination against disabled people. Requires service providers to makes sure their service is accessible for disabled people to the same standard as non-disabled people.

View the Equality Act 2010

 

Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999

Some young witnesses may have particular difficulties attending court and giving evidence because of their particular needs. The YJCEA introduced a range of “special measures” to help children in these circumstances.

View the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999

The Crown Prosecution Service explains what special measures are available, for example aids to communication.

View the Crown Prosecution Service's Special Measures

 

Children Act 1989

Section 17 details the duty of local authorities to provide services that promote the welfare of children who are in need. Disabled children are defined as children in need in Section 17(10)(c).

View section 17 of the Children Act 1989

Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 and Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011

Makes provision for help such as communication aids for witnesses who are disabled.

View the Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1999

View the Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011

Disability Discrimination Act 1995

Provides protection from discrimination against disabled people. Schedule 8 makes provision in Northern Ireland prohibiting discrimination against disabled people relating to access to goods and services.

View the Disability Discrimination Act 1995

Equality Act 2010

Provides protection from discrimination against disabled people. Requires service providers to makes sure their service is accessible for disabled people to the same standard as non-disabled people.

View the Equality Act 2010

Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014

Includes a requirement for local authorities to provide services that will minimise the effect of disabilities on disabled people. The act is due to be fully implemented in April 2016.

View the Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) act 2014

Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011

Embeds the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, including disabled children’s rights to protection, participation and service provision.

View the Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011

Equality Act 2010

Provides protection from discrimination against disabled people. Requires service providers to makes sure their service is accessible for disabled people to the same standard as non-disabled people.

View the Equality Act 2010

 

Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999

Some young witnesses may have particular difficulties attending court and giving evidence because of their particular needs. The YJCEA introduced a range of “special measures” to help children in these circumstances.

View the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999

The Crown Prosecution Service explains what special measures are available, for example aids to communication.

View the Crown Prosecution Service's Special Measures

 

Children Act 1989

Section 17 details the duty of local authorities to provide services that promote the welfare of children who are in need. Disabled children are defined as children in need in Section 17(10)(c).

View section 17 of the Children Act 1989

Guidance

Practice guidance for professionals working to safeguard the welfare of deaf and disabled children.

Working together to safeguard children

A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children

(HM Government, 2015)

Key statutory guidance for anyone working with children in England. Sets out how organisations and individuals should work together and how practitioners should conduct the assessment of children.

Makes specific reference to disabled children, particularly in relation to assessments.

Download Working together to safeguard children (PDF)

Achieving best evidence in criminal proceedings

Guidance on interviewing victims and witnesses, and using special measures

(Ministry of Justice et al, 2011)

Includes guidance on interviewing disabled children and children with communication difficulties.

Download Achieving best evidence in criminal proceedings (PDF)

Forced marriage and learning disabilities

Multi-agency practice guidelines

(Forced Marriage Unit, 2010)

Help for practitioners to prevent people with learning disabilities being victims of forced marriage. This guidance should be read along with Multi-agency practice guidelines: handling cases of forced marriage (Forced Marriage Unit, 2014).

View Forced marriage and learning disabilities

Download Multi-agency practice guidelines: handling cases of forced marriage (PDF)

Safeguarding disabled children

Practice guidance

(Department for Education, 2009)

Sets out how agencies and professionals should work together to safeguard the welfare of disabled children.

Download Safeguarding disabled children: practice guidance (PDF)

Mental health and deafness

Towards equity and access: best practice guidance

(Department of Health, 2005)

Includes recommendations to children’s services to ensure the needs of deaf children are recognised and can be met.

View Mental health and deafness - towards equity and access: best practice guidance

Co-operating to safeguard children in Northern Ireland


(Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2016)

Child protection guidance that highlights the particular risks faced by disabled children.

View Co-operating to safeguard children and young people in Northern Ireland

Understanding the needs of children in Northern Ireland (UNOCINI) guidance


(Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2011)

Sets out an assessment framework for children's services which stresses that disabled children's needs must be taken into account.

Download Understanding the needs of children in Northern Ireland

National guidance for child protection in Scotland

(Scottish Government, 2014)

National child protection guidance includes a specific section on safeguarding disabled children.

Download National guidance for child protection in Scotland

National guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2014

Additional notes for practitioners: protecting disabled children from abuse and neglect


(Scottish Government, 2014)

Practice notes designed to be read in conjunction National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2014. These notes aim to raise practitioners’ awareness of the increased vulnerability of disabled children.

View Additional notes for practitioners: protecting disabled children from abuse and neglect

Safe and well

Good practice in schools and education authorities for keeping children safe and well

(Scottish Government, 2005)

Includes detailed guidance for education staff, schools and education authorities about protecting disabled children.

Download Safe and well (PDF)

Achieving best evidence in criminal proceedings 

Guidance on interviewing victims and witnesses, and using special measures

(Ministry of Justice et al, 2011)

Includes guidance on interviewing disabled children and children with communication difficulties.

Download Achieving best evidence in criminal proceedings (PDF)

Forced marriage and learning disabilities 

Multi-agency practice guidelines

Help for practitioners to prevent people with learning disabilities being victims of forced marriage. This guidance should be read along with Multi-agency practice guidelines: handling cases of forced marriage.

View Forced marriage and learning disabilities
(Forced Marriage Unit, 2010)

Download Multi-agency practice guidelines: handling cases of forced marriage (PDF)
(Forced Marriage Unit, 2014)

All Wales child protection procedures

(All Wales Child Protection Procedures Review Group, 2008)

Provides common standards for child protection practice for Local and Regional Safeguarding Children Boards across Wales.  Section 4.7 states the protection of disabled children must follow the same procedure as for all others, but with some additional consideration.

View All Wales child protection procedures

Safeguarding children 

Working together under the Children Act 2004

(Welsh Assembly Government, 2006)

National child protection guidance, chapter 9 includes information on protecting disabled children.

Download Safeguarding children: working together under the Children Act 2004 (PDF)

Framework for the assessment of children in need and their families

(Welsh Government, 2001)

Provides a systematic way of analysing, understanding and recording what is happening to children  and young people within their families and communities. Pays specific attention to assessing the needs of disabled children.

Download Framework for the assessment of children in need and their families (PDF)

Assessing children in need and their families 

Practice guidance

(Welsh Government, 2001)

Practice guidance designed to be read in conjunction with ‘Framework for the assessment of children in need and their families’. Section 3 sets out in detail best practice for assessing the needs of disabled children and their families.

Download Assessing children in need and their families: practice guidance (PDF)

Child protection in the UK

How the systems and laws of the UK and its 4 nations work to keep children safe from abuse and harm.
More about the child protection system

Safeguarding children

What organisations and groups that work with or come into contact with children should do to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.
Find out more

CASPAR

Our Current Awareness Service for Practice, Policy And Research delivers free weekly email alerts to keep you up-to-date with all the latest safeguarding and child protection news.

CASPAR is currently being upgraded but you can still sign up by contacting our Information Service.

Sign up to CASPAR

Information Service

Our free service for people who work with children can help you find the latest policy, practice, research and news on child protection and related subjects.

For more information, call us or email help@nspcc.org.uk.

0808 800 5000

Submit an enquiry

Follow @NSPCCpro

Follow us on Twitter and keep up-to-date with all the latest news in child protection.

Follow @NSPCCpro on Twitter

Library catalogue

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.

Search the library

New in the Library

A free weekly email listing all of the new child protection publications added to our library collection.

New in the Library is currently being upgraded but you can still sign up by contacting our Information Service.

Sign up to New in the Library

Helping you keep children safe

Read our guide for professionals on what we do and the ways we can work with you to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect.

Read our guide (PDF)

Impact and evidence hub

Find out how we evaluate and research the impact we’re making in protecting children, get tips and tools for researchers and access resources.

Our impact and evidence

Get expert training and consultancy

Grow your child protection knowledge and skills with CPD certified courses delivered by our experts nationwide and online.
Get expert training

Sharing knowledge to keep children safe

Read our guide to NSPCC Knowledge and Information Services to find out how we can help you with child protection queries, support your research, and help you learn and develop.

Read our guide (PDF)