Publication - Impact assessment

Child Protection Improvement Programme: equality impact assessment record

Published: 21 Jul 2017

Record of assessments of the Child Protection Improvement Programme, testing how the programme would affect our aims for equality.

21 page PDF

769.1 kB

21 page PDF

769.1 kB

Child Protection Improvement Programme: equality impact assessment record
Stage 2: Data and evidence gathering, involvement and consultation

21 page PDF

769.1 kB

Stage 2: Data and evidence gathering, involvement and consultation

Include here the results of your evidence gathering (including framing exercise), including qualitative and quantitative data and the source of that information, whether national statistics, surveys or consultations with relevant equality groups.

Characteristic [4]

Evidence gathered and strength/quality of evidence


Data gaps identified and action taken


In June 2014 there were 1,033,183 children (under 18 years old) in Scotland. Of this, 233,984 children were aged 0-3 years and 525,073 children were aged 0-8 years. The number of children aged 0-15 in Scotland is projected to grow by 5% by 2037.

A child can be defined differently in different legal contexts, accruing rights and responsibilities under the law variously at the ages of 16 or 18. The minimum age of criminal responsibility remains 8 in Scotland, though the Scottish Government is currently considering raising this to 12, in line with UNCRC expectations. An individual young person's circumstances and age will dictate what legal measures can be applied.

The number of children on the child protection register has fluctuated regularly, but there is a general upwards trend. The total has increased by 34 per cent between 2000 and 2015 (from 2,050 to 2,751). In 2015, 51% of the children on the child protection register were aged under 5; since 2008 there have been more children aged under 5 than over 5 on the child protection register. In 2015 3.0 children for every 1,000 children under 16 were on the child protection register, this varies by local authority between 0.2 per 1,000 children in Eilean Siar, to 6.3 per 1,000 in Clackmannanshire.

In 2015/16, 15,329 children and young people were referred to the reporter (1.7% of all children aged 0-16). The most common ages for referral are 14 & 15, for both offence and non-offence grounds.

Scottish Government



There is evidence to suggest that children and young people who have disabilities or complex learning and care needs are more likely to experience child neglect, harm and abuse. This is fuelled by public perceptions that children with disabilities are less likely to be abused, narratives that minimise the impact of abuse and attributing the indicators of abuse to a child's impairment. In addition, we know that children and young people with disabilities face additional barriers to accessing support services.

Disabled children at the greatest risk of neglect, abuse and harm are those with behaviour/conduct disorders. Other high risk groups include children with learning disabilities, children with speech and language difficulties, deaf children and children with health-related conditions.



There is no strong gender pattern (gender assigned at birth) among children on the Child Protection register, of the 2,751 registered children in 2015, 50% were boys, 45% were girls and the remaining 5% were unborn children.

Of the 15,239 children referred to the reporter in 2015/16, 55% were boys and 45% were girls. Referrals on care and protection grounds are almost evenly split, however boys represent some 77% of all referrals on offence grounds.

Scottish Government



Teenage pregnancy rates in Scotland continue to fall, though it should be acknowledged that experiencing pregnancy at a young age is not a universally negative or unwanted life experience. In 2014, teenage pregnancy in the under 18 age group was 17.5 per 1,000 women. Within health boards, NHS Tayside records the highest rates of teenage pregnancy across age groups, with 5.8 women in the under 16 age group and 27.1 per 1,000 women in the under 18 age group.

Termination rates in the under 16 age group remain higher than the delivery rates and have done so since 2002. Though in the period 1994-2014, termination rates for the under 18 group remains lower than delivery rates, though the difference has progressively narrowed.

There is a strong correlation between deprivation and teenage pregnancy. In the under 20 age group, a teenage female living in the most deprived areas is five times as likely to experience a pregnancy as someone living in the least deprived areas.



The Young People's Gender Service in Scotland, Sandyford, who offer a comprehensive gender identity service available to anyone who is concerned about their gender identity or expression of their gender, report increasing numbers of young people seeking the help of gender identity clinics in Scotland. Referral numbers are below. However, information about numbers of children and young people seeking gender reassignment are not held.

2013: 34. 2014: 67. 2015: 187. 2016: 150 (as at 30/09/2016)

Scottish Government


Scottish Surveys Core Questions 2014 showed 1.6% of people over 16 identified as " LGB and other". Within that, 3.1% of 16-24 year olds identified.

It should be noted that self-identified sexual orientation was introduced to Scottish government surveys to underpin the equality monitoring responsibilities of public sector organisations and to assess the disadvantage or relative discrimination experienced by the lesbian, gay and bisexual population. It is felt that the figures are likely to under-report the percentage of lesbian, gay or bisexual ( LGB) people within society due to a number of reasons

Scottish Government


At 31 July 2015, 75% of all children on children protection registers were reported as being from a 'White' ethnic group, with a further 6% being from 'Mixed or Multiple Ethnicity', 'Asian, Asian Scottish or Asian British', 'African, Caribbean or Black', or 'Other' ethnic groups.

The 2011 census shows that for children aged between 0 and 17, 94% were from a 'White' ethnic group and 6% from a 'mixed or multiple ethnic group', 'Asian, Asian Scottish or Asian British', 'African', 'Caribbean or Black' and 'Other' ethnic groups. However, as 20% of all children on child protection registers were reported as having a 'Not Known' ethnic group it is impossible to extrapolate further meaning from the figures.

Scottish Government

Roshni deliver the SAFE Project, a community outreach and education programme for children and young people aged 6-16 which empowers minority young people to disclose abuse and increases awareness of mainstream support services, and the Protecting You, Protecting Children Service which helps organisations providing services to minority ethnic communities put effective governance and child protection procedures in place.


As at 31 July 2014, the religion of 78% of children on child protection registers was unknown, 14% had no religion and 9% had a religion.

Information on religion or belief has limited reliability owing to quality concerns, underreporting and misreporting. Children and young people from minority ethnic communities can have specific vulnerabilities associated with their culture which create barriers to disclosing or reporting abuse, for example, blackmail connected with shame and dishonour can be used to control victims. Cultural sensitivities can lead to an unwillingness to discuss or recognise abuse.

Scottish Government


(the Scottish Government does not require assessment against this protected characteristic unless the policy or practice relates to work, for example HR policies and practices - refer to Definitions of Protected Characteristics document for details)



Email: Francois Roos,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road