Child Protection

Child protection has to be seen in the context of the wider Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) approach and the Early Years Framework and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. All children and young people have the right to be cared for and protected from harm and abuse and to grow up in a safe environment in which their rights are respected and their needs met. Children and young people should get the help they need, when they need it, and their welfare is always paramount.

There are 3 key areas that cover core Child Protection legislation, in Scotland, as follows:

image of young child

  • the duties conferred on services to investigate and respond to concerns about a child's welfare, as well as the responsibilities of local authorities to develop community planning processes with partner agencies;
  • 'over-arching' legislation (for example, Data Protection) where some aspects have a particular relevance; and
  • other legislation including offences relating to children and young people and legislation relating to civil law or administrative arrangements, arranged in thematic order.

Duties to Protect

The legal duty to investigate and report in relation to child care issues is derived from two sources: the Police (Scotland) Act 1967 which provides the mandate for police officers; and the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, of which section 53 provides the mandate for local authorities and section 56 for Reporters to the Children's Hearing.

Although the above remain the primary legislation, concerned with the duty to protect children. Additional areas of legislation, are also of relevance as follows:

Over-arching Legislation

Other Relevant Legislation

Legislation Defining Offences against Children

Legislation on Managing Adults Who May Pose a Risk to Children

Legislation on Criminal Proceedings and Witness Supports

Additional Legislation