This section presents data on children on the child protection register from 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2012. Child protection means protecting a child from child abuse or neglect. This can either be in cases where abuse or neglect has taken place, or in cases where a likelihood of significant harm or neglect has been identified. The risk of harm or neglect will be considered at a Child Protection Case Conference. Where a child is believed to be at risk of significant harm, their name will be added to the child protection register (referred to as a child protection registration).
Chart 4: Children on the child protection register, by age, 2000-2012
As Chart 4 shows, the number of children on the child protection register has fluctuated but overall increased by 35 per cent between 2001 and 2012 (from 2,050 in 2000 to 2,706 in 2012). Over the last 12 years there has been an increase in the proportion of younger children on the child protection register and corresponding decrease in older children. In 2012, more than half of children on the child protection register (51%) were aged under five.
There is no strong gender pattern among children on the child protection register. Half were boys, 47 per cent were girls and the remaining 4 per cent were unborn children (these figures sum to more than 100% due to rounding). At 31 July 2012, there were 95 unborn children on the child protection register, an increase of 15 on 2011. Because there was a change in how unborn children were recorded by local authorities in 2010, only the 2011 and 2012 figures for unborn children are comparable.
Table 2.1: Number of children on the child protection register by gender, 2000, 2005, 2010-2012(1)
|2000||2005||2010||2011||2012||% of total 2012||Rate per 1,000 children 2012(2)|
(1) Until 2010-11 data was collected at 31 March. From 2011 data has been collected at 31 July. Full data by gender and age group for 2000-2012 is available in Table 2.1 of the excel version of the publication tables - http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Children/PubChildrenSocialWork
(2) Source: National Records of Scotland, 2011 mid-year population estimates.
Table 2.2 shows that, in Scotland in 2011-12, three children in every 1,000 children under 16 were on the child protection register. At local authority level the rate varied from less than one per 1,000 children (0.9 per 1,000 children) in Orkney to 7.5 per 1,000 children in Midlothian.
In 2011 Midlothian saw a substantial increase in the number of children on the child protection register due to a higher level of identification of abuse and neglect within Midlothian and an increase in public and professional awareness of child protection. Following this increase, the level in Midlothian in 2012 is still higher than the rest of Scotland.
Table 2.2: Number and rate(1) per 1,000 population aged 0-15 of children on the child protection register: 2007, 2009, 2011-2012(2), by local authority
|Local authority area||At 31 March||At 31 July|
|Number||Rate per 1,000||Number||Rate per 1,000||Number||Rate per 1,000||Number||Rate per 1,000|
|Argyll & Bute||32||2.1||43||2.9||39||2.7||48||3.4|
|Dumfries & Galloway||79||3.1||100||4.0||101||4.1||94||3.9|
|Edinburgh, City of||287||4.1||256||3.6||244||3.4||227||3.1|
|Perth & Kinross||43||1.7||49||2.0||62||2.5||37||1.5|
(1) Source: National Records of Scotland, 2008-2011 mid-year population estimates.
(2) Information for all years from 2007 is included in the publication tables and a map of the 2012 rates is presented in the additional tables: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Children/PubChildrenSocialWork
Revised National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland was published by the Scottish Government in December 2010 which allows local authorities to record multiple risks/concerns (rather than just the main category of abuse) and expands the list of potential concerns. Because in 2012 multiple concerns can be recorded per child for the first time, the total number of concerns is larger than the total number of registrations. The changes in recording mean that the 2012 figures on concerns identified are not comparable to previous data on category of abuse/risk.
Table 2.3 shows that for the 2,706 children on the child protection register at 31 July 2012 there were 5,705 concerns at the case conferences at which they were registered - an average of 2.1 concerns per conference. The most common concerns identified were emotional abuse (38%), neglect (37%) and parental substance misuse (34%).
Table 2.3 Concerns identified(1) at the case conferences of children who were on the child protection register at 31 July 2012
|Concerns identified at case conferences||% of children registered at 31 July 2012|
|Parental substance misuse||918||34%|
|Parental Mental Health Problems||516||19%|
|Child Placing themselves at risk||46||2%|
(1) The 2012 data should not be compared to previous years' data on category of abuse/risk. The Scottish Government published revised National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland in December 2010 which expanded the categories for abuse/concerns identified at case conferences. As a result, many of the categories in 2012 may have been included in other categories previously or would not have been counted as they have no equivalent in previous years.
Child protection registrations and de-registrations
The number of both registrations to the child protection register and de-registrations from the child protection register have both increased over the last five years. Table 2.4 shows that 16 per cent of children who were placed on the child protection register during 2011-12 had been on a child protection register before. This figure has fluctuated over the past five years, but is consistently between 13% and 16%.
Table 2.5 shows that there were 4,155 de-registrations from the child protection in the year to 31 July 2012, 332 more than in 2010-11. More than eight in ten de-registrations (83 per cent) in 2011-12 were for children who had been registered for less than a year. The most common reason for de-registration in 2011-12 (in 42 per cent of cases) was that the home situation had improved.
Table 2.4: Number of registrations following an initial, pre-birth or transfer case conference, 2007, 2009, 2011-2012(1) - by length of time since previous de-registration
|Year Ended 31 March||Year Ended 31 July||% of total|
|Time since last de-registration||2007||2009||2011||2012||2012|
|Never been registered before||2,565||3,103||3,277||3,408||82%|
|Registered before but time unknown||8||0||3||10||0%|
|Less than 6 months||92||68||98||89||2%|
|6 months - < 1 year||68||78||107||99||2%|
|1 year - < 18 months||46||94||74||83||2%|
|18 months - < 2 years||43||54||61||79||2%|
|2 years or more||120||231||262||304||7%|
|Not known if been registered before||206||0||2||83||2%|
|Proportion of registrations to children who had been registered before(2)||13%||14%||16%||16%|
(1) Information back to 2007 is included in the excel version of the publication tables: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Children/PubChildrenSocialWork
(2) This is calculated as a proportion of registrations excluding cases where it is not known if a child had been registered before. Excludes cases where it is not known if a child had been registered before
Table 2.5: Number of de-registrations from the child protection register, 2007, 2009, 2011-2012, by length of time on register and reason for de-registration(1)
|Year Ended 31 March||Year Ended 31 July||% of total 2012||% change|
|Length of time registered|
|Less than 6 months||1,329||1,498||1,713||1,929||46%||13%|
|6 months to under 1 year||1,092||1,178||1,477||1,535||37%||4%|
|1 year to under 18 months||362||447||419||516||12%||23%|
|18 months to under 2 years||158||197||139||117||3%||-16%|
|2 years or more||143||179||75||58||1%||-23%|
|Reason for de-registration(2)|
|Child taken into care & risk reduced||-||536||501||582||14%||16%|
|Child with other carers||-||295||278||295||7%||6%|
|Removal of perpetrator||-||82||56||70||2%||25%|
|Improved home situation||-||1,195||1,186||1,742||42%||47%|
|Child automatically de-registered because of age||-||16||14||6||0%||-57%|
|Child moved away - no continued risk||-||33||32||20||0%||-38%|
|Child transferred to another local authority||-||135||130||175||4%||35%|
(1) This table previously included breakdowns on the category of abuse/risk, which is not available from 2012. Information for all years back to 2007 is included in the excel version of the publication tables: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Children/PubChildrenSocialWork
(2) Information on the reason for de-registration is not available prior to 2007-08.
(3) This category was called reduced risk (other) prior to 2012.
Cross-UK child protection comparisons
Child protection systems across the United Kingdom vary but are generally comparable. While Scotland has seen an increase in the rate of registrations to the child protection register over the last decade, it is not as steep as the increase in England and Wales over the same period. Northern Ireland has seen a different pattern to the other three UK countries over the same period, with a very sharp increase in the rates of child protection registrations until 2009 and a relative decline in registrations since then. Between 2011 and 2012 the rate of registrations in England and Wales has stayed the same and in Northern Ireland has decreased. This has slightly narrowed the difference in rate of registrations to the child protection register between Scotland and the other countries in the UK.
Chart 5: Cross-UK comparison of rate of children on the child protection register per 10,000 under 18s, 2004-2012
There is more information on the differences between the collection of child protection data in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland and how this affects the comparability here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Children/socialservicestats
There are additional tables on child protection available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Children/PubChildrenSocialWork
Email: Denise Macleod