Fighting for childhood in Scotland How we're standing up for children

We’re building a better future for Scotland's children through working with local services and communities and influencing national policy developments and political processes.

We use the information and learning gathered through our direct services with children and families to inform decision-making and encourage wider change to protect Scotland's children from abuse and neglect.

We want to move child welfare up the policy agenda and place it at the heart of building a better future for Scotland.


How safe are our children? in Scotland

We published How safe are our children? 2017 in June 2017. It is our fifth annual report compiling the most robust and up-to-date child protection data that exists across each of the 4 nations in the UK.

Compiling this data is part of our commitment to evidence, to help us to understand the problems we are seeking to address.

We've analysed the data looking at how safe our children are in Scotland and used this to shape our priorities. Read our policy calls below and our Scotland briefing paper (PDF).

What we want to see


Illustration of a pramWe know that early childhood experience of abuse is a major predictor of mental health issues (NSPCC, 2016).

We are calling for increased investment in infant mental health and perinatal mental health from universal to specialist services to ensure the availability of support that is proportionate and reflective of levels of need.

Reports of sexual offences against children have increased in Scotland

Explanation: Police recorded 4,097 sexual offences against children under 16 in Scotland in 2016/17.

This was a 10% increase on the 2015/16 figure of 3,715 offences. It is the highest number of sexual offences against children in the past decade.

All 4 nations saw an increase in 2016/17 possibly due to an increased willingness to report abuse following high profile sexual abuse cases in the media combined with improved police recording.

See also Indicator 4 in How safe are our children? 2018.

View trend graph Recorded sexual offences against children under 16 in Scotland (PNG).

As in previous years, recorded sexual offences against children have continued to rise in Scotland and across the UK.

It is vital that we learn more about the nature and scale of this offending in Scotland and its impact on children and young people to inform our Child Protection Improvement Programme where child internet safety and tackling child sexual exploitation is a priority.

Key to protecting children is the provision of high quality, age-appropriate personal and social education.

The importance of healthy relationships should be introduced to the early years curriculum; this is not just about teenagers. PSE should also reflect issues that are important to young people including a greater focus on topics like online safety, violence against girls and young women, and sexual abuse and exploitation.

Illustration of a gavelA great deal of work has been done over the last decade in Scotland to improve our understanding of the impact of domestic abuse on children.

However, we would like to see the needs and experiences of children affected by domestic abuse better reflected in the Domestic Abuse Bill.

Scotland consultation responses

Our policy team in Scotland respond to government consultations and write briefings to influence the development of policies and laws that affect children and young people. Below are the most recent government consultations we've responded to.

Statistics on child protection in Scotland

Official statistics help tell us how many children have been identified as needing support or protection in Scotland.

See the statistics

How child protection works in Scotland

Find out how the systems and laws of Scotland work to help keep children safe from abuse and harm.

Find out more

Research and resources

Equally protected?

A review of physical punishment research published since 2008.
Find out more

Getting it right for mothers and babies

Report outlining current provision of postnatal and antenatal mental health services in Scotland, and making recommendations for future developments.
Find out more

Challenges from the frontline

Investigates how welfare reform and austerity policies are affecting work with vulnerable families in Scotland.
Find out more

More research from Scotland

Find more research and resources from Scotland in our library catalogue.

View research reports

Services for children and families in Scotland

Boy leaning on a climbing frameWe have service centres across the United Kingdom which offer a combination of services to children, families and professionals. We support parents and families in caring for their children and provide therapeutic assistance to help children move on from abuse.

We also provide help and support through the NSPCC helpline, Childline and our work with schools.

Find out what services are available for children and families in Scotland - and how to get in touch:

What you can do in Scotland

Child protection training in Scotland

We have a range of Scotland specific training courses and a consultancy service that can help you grow your child protection knowledge and skills.
Find out more

Find an event near you

From marathon to skydives, bake sales to gala dinners, we've got an event for you in Scotland.

Find an event near you

Make a donation today

A child will contact Childline every 25 seconds. Donate now and help us be there for every child.

Donate now


Follow the official NSPCC Scotland Twitter account

Follow @NSPCC_Scotland


Follow our official NSPCC Facebook page

Follow us


  1. NSPCC (2016) It's time: campaign report. London: NSPCC.

  2. Scottish Government (2017) Child Protection Improvement Programme: report (PDF). Edinburgh: Scottish Government.