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National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland

DescriptionNational Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland was published in 2010 and refreshed in 2014 to ensure that it remains relevant and up to date for local agencies and practitioners working together to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children.
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateMay 19, 2014


ISBN 978 1 78412 428 1 (web only publication)
DPPAS 28578

This document is also available in pdf format (4.1 MB)


Ministerial Foreword


Purpose of the guidance

Contents of the guidance

The guidance in context

Part 1 - The Context for Child Protection

Key definitions and concepts

Who is a child?

Who are parents and carers?

What is child abuse and child neglect?

What is child protection?

What is harm and significant harm in a child protection context?

What is risk in a child protection context?

What is the Named Person, Lead Professional and the Child's Plan?

What is the Child Protection Register?

Principles and standards for child protection

Core principles

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Children's Charter and the Framework for Standards

Equality and diversity

Information-sharing and recording

Information-sharing for child protection: general principles

Confidentiality and consent

Recording and analysing information

Storage and retention of records

Legislation relating to child protection

Duties to protect

Overarching legislation

Part 2 - Roles and Responsibilities for Child Protection

Collective responsibilities for child protection

Local communities and the general public

Chief Officers' Groups

Support for staff

Child Protection Committees

Functions of a Child Protection Committee

Single agency responsibilities for child protection

Shared responsibilities

Public/statutory services

Other community and related services

Wider planning links

Planning context

Public protection

Reviewing practices in relation to offenders who may pose a risk to the public

Transition planning


Violence Against Women/Domestic Abuse Partnerships
Adult support and protection

Alcohol and Drug Partnerships

Part 3 - Identifying and Responding to Concerns about Children

Identifying and managing risk

The nature of risk

Identifying vulnerabilities and the need for risk assessment

Assessing risk

Managing risk through Child Protection Plans

Risk assessment skills

Responding to concerns about children

Recognising actual or potential harm to a child

Sharing concerns and initial information-gathering

Joint investigation/assessment

Emergency legal measures to protect children at risk

Involving children and families

Health assessment and medical examination

Child Protection Case Conferences

Child Protection Plan

Core groups

Criminal prosecution of suspected perpetrators of abuse or neglect

Criminal Injuries Compensation

Part 4 - Child Protection in Specific Circumstances

Indicators of risk

Domestic abuse

Parental problematic alcohol and drug use


Non-engaging families

Children and young people experiencing or affected by mental health problems

Children and young people who display harmful or problematic sexual behaviour

Female genital mutilation

Honour-based violence and forced marriage

Fabricated or induced illness

Sudden unexpected death in infants and children

Harm outside the home or in specific circumstances

Complex child abuse investigations: inter-agency considerations

Child trafficking

Child Sexual Exploitation

Historical reports of abuse

Children who are looked after away from home

Online and mobile phone child safety

Children and young people who place themselves at risk
Children and young people who are missing

Under-age sexual activity



Appendix A Legislation: list of other relevant legislation

Appendix B Training and research resources

Appendix C Timescales for different stages of acting on child protection concerns

Appendix D Arrangements for child protection in the armed services

Appendix E Glossary of terms

Appendix F Useful links referenced in the guidance