Publication - Statistics

Children's Social Work Statistics Scotland, 2012-13

Published: 25 Mar 2014
Part of:
Statistics
ISBN:
9781784123697

statistics on children looked after, child protection and young people in secure care and close support accommodation

44 page PDF

977.8 kB

44 page PDF

977.8 kB

Contents
Children's Social Work Statistics Scotland, 2012-13
Child Protection

44 page PDF

977.8 kB

Child Protection

up arrow Continued increase in registrations and deregistrations but a plateau in the total number on the child protection register after a period of increase
down arrow Continuing decrease in length of time children tend to spend on the child protection register
children Children continue to be placed on the child protection register at younger ages

This section presents data on children on the child protection register from 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2013. 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 (a child protection registration).

For the first time in 2012-13 the child protection data has been collected entirely at individual level. In future years the additional detail provided by individual level data will allow much more sophisticated analyses, but in this transitional year the additional complexity of this collection has also increased the scope for error. While the high-level figures presented here are robust, the accuracy of the more detailed 2012-13 data is less robust. It is likely that the 2012-13 figures will be revised in future years as processes and validations improve. Additional breakdowns should also be available in future years as data quality improves.

Children on the child protection register

As Chart 5 shows, the number of children on the child protection register has fluctuated but overall increased by 31 per cent between 2001 and 2013 (from 2,050 in 2000 to 2,681 in 2013). Following updated information from local authorities the 2012 data has been revised down slightly from the initial published figure (from 2,706 to 2,698). The number of children registered has plateaued between the revised 2012 figure and 2013 (with a decrease of just 17 between 2,698 and 2,681). The small decrease at national level from 2012 to 2013 should also be taken in the context of large year-on-year changes at local authority level (see page 18 for more on this).

Chart 5: Children on the child protection register by age, 2000-2013

Over the last 13 years there has been an increase in the proportion of younger children on the child protection register and corresponding decrease in older children. Since 2008 there have been more children aged under 5 than over five on the child protection register. In 2013, more than half of children on the child protection register (55%) were aged under five.

Table 2.1: Number of children on the child protection register by gender, 2000, 2005, 2010-2013(1)

2000 2005 2010 2011 2012(2) 2013 % of total 2013 Rate per 1,000 under 16s 2013(3)
Boys 1,080 1,098 1,275 1,282 1,335 1321 49% 2.7
Girls 970 1,059 1,199 1,209 1,268 1237 46% 3.1
Unborns - - 44 80 93 121 5% -
Unknown - - - - 2 2 - -
All children 2,050 2,157 2,518 2,571 2,698 2681 100% 2.9

(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 2000-2013 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) Revised since original publication. See background note 4.10 for more information.

(3) Source: National Records of Scotland, 2012 mid-year population estimates.

There is no strong gender pattern among children on the child protection register - 49 per cent were boys, 46 per cent were girls and the remaining five per cent were unborn children. Because of 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 2.2 shows that, in Scotland in 2012-13, just under three children in every 1,000 children under 16 were on the child protection register (2.9 per 1,000 children). At local authority level the rate varied from less than one per 1,000 children (0.7 per 1,000 children) in Shetland to 5.4 per 1,000 children in Clackmannanshire.

Table 2.2: Number and rate(1) of children on the child protection register per 1,000 population aged 0-15: 2011-2013(2), by local authority

2011 2012(3) 2013
Number Rate Number Rate Number Rate
Aberdeen City 96 2.8 87 2.5 92 2.9
Aberdeenshire 68 1.5 73 1.6 52 1.1
Angus 66 3.4 59 3.0 94 4.7
Argyll & Bute 39 2.7 48 3.4 17 1.2
Clackmannanshire 39 4.1 55 5.8 50 5.4
Dumfries & Galloway 101 4.1 94 3.9 78 3.1
Dundee City 90 3.8 82 3.4 51 2.2
East Ayrshire 65 3.1 73 3.5 61 2.8
East Dunbartonshire 26 1.4 23 1.2 43 2.3
East Lothian 60 3.2 62 3.3 50 2.7
East Renfrewshire 24 1.4 36 1.9 29 1.6
Edinburgh, City of 244 3.4 223 3.1 262 3.6
Eilean Siar 4 0.9 8 2.5 14 3.0
Falkirk 56 2.0 73 2.8 70 2.5
Fife 187 2.9 205 3.2 214 3.3
Glasgow City 351 3.6 436 4.4 437 4.6
Highland 97 2.5 116 3.0 80 1.9
Inverclyde 29 2.1 33 2.4 27 2.0
Midlothian 158 10.2 117 7.5 59 3.8
Moray 48 3.1 45 3.0 64 3.8
North Ayrshire 77 3.2 74 3.1 92 3.8
North Lanarkshire 87 1.4 80 1.3 96 1.5
Orkney Isles 4 1.2 3 0.9 9 2.5
Perth & Kinross 62 2.5 41 1.5 49 2.0
Renfrewshire 102 3.4 86 2.8 109 3.6
Scottish Borders 34 1.7 37 1.9 25 1.3
Shetland 6 1.4 7 1.6 3 0.7
South Ayrshire 49 2.7 64 3.5 49 2.7
South Lanarkshire 141 2.5 165 2.9 194 3.5
Stirling 47 2.9 40 2.5 57 3.6
West Dunbartonshire 20 1.2 35 2.2 35 2.2
West Lothian 94 2.7 118 3.4 119 3.4
Scotland 2,571 2.8 2,698 3.0 2,681 2.9

(1) Source: National Records of Scotland, 2010-2012 mid-year population estimates.

(2) Information for all years from 2007 is included in the publication tables: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Children/PubChildrenSocialWork

(3) Revised since original publication. See background note 4.10 for more information.

In 2011 a combination of factors in Midlothian (such as an increase in public and professional awareness of child protection and a focus on early intervention and prevention within the local authority) contributed to a substantial increase in the number of children on the child protection register (from 96 in 2010 to 158 in 2011). The 2012 rate was also noticeably higher than the rest of Scotland. Midlothian have reported that following the increased focus on early intervention the number of referrals that reach child protection registration have fallen leading to the drop in the number of children on the child protection register in Midlothian to 59 in 2013.

Since 2012 multiple concerns can be recorded at each case conference (rather than just the main category of abuse), meaning that the total number of concerns is larger than the total number of registrations and that figures on concerns identified are not comparable to previous data on category of abuse/risk.

Table 2.3 shows that for the 2,681 children on the child protection register at 31 July 2013 there were 7,386 concerns at the case conferences at which they were registered - an average of 2.8 concerns per conference. The most common concerns identified were emotional abuse (38%), neglect (38%) and parental substance misuse (37%).

Table 2.3 Concerns identified(1) at the case conferences of children who were on the child protection register 2012- 2013

Concerns identified at case conferences 2012(2) 2013 % of children registered at 31 July 2013
Neglect 993 1,029 38%
Parental substance misuse 892 993 37%
Drug misuse 567 667 25%
Alcohol misuse 502 531 20%
Parental mental health problems 501 600 22%
Non-engaging family 451 548 20%
Domestic abuse 735 888 33%
Sexual abuse 233 208 8%
Physical abuse 467 537 20%
Emotional abuse 1,020 1,027 38%
Child Placing themselves at risk 43 56 2%
Child Exploitation 7 13 0%
Other concerns 280 289 11%
Total concerns 6,691 7,386 Per conference: 2.75

(1) The data from 2012 onwards should not be compared to previous years' data on category of abuse/risk. There were 40 conferences for which the cause of concern information was unknown.

(2) Revised since original publication. See background note 4.10 for more information.

Child protection registrations and deregistrations

Table 2.4: Number of registrations following an initial, pre-birth or transfer case conference, 2008, 2010, 2012-2013(1) - by length of time since previous deregistration

Time since last deregistration Year to 31 March Year to 31 July % of total 2013(2)
2008 2010 2012 2013
Never been registered before 2,355 2,971 3,408 3,580 85%
Registered before but time unknown 5 0 10 2 0%
Less than 6 months 95 81 89 113 3%
6 months - < 1 year 68 98 99 87 2%
1 year - < 18 months 48 67 83 72 2%
18 months - < 2 years 53 60 79 54 1%
2 years or more 181 269 304 318 8%
Not known if been registered before 9 5 83 44
Proportion of registrations to children who had been registered before(2) 16% 16% 16% 15%
Total 2,814 3,551 4,155 4,270 4,270 100%

(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) Excludes cases where it is not known if a child had been registered before.

The number of registrations to and deregistrations from the child protection register have both increased over the last five years. Table 2.4 shows that 15 per cent of children who were placed on the child protection register during 2012-13 had been on a child protection register before. This figure has fluctuated over the past five years, but is consistently between 13% and 16%.

Chart 6: Deregistrations by length of time registered, 2007-2013

As Chart 6 shows, while there is an increase in number of children registered, the length of time for which children are registered has been decreasing since 2008. In 2013, 83 per cent of deregistrations were for children who had been registered for less than a year, compared to 75 per cent in 2008. In combination with the fall in the age of children on the child protection register, this suggests that children are being registered at earlier ages for shorter periods of time.

Table 2.5 shows the ongoing increase in deregistrations. There were 4,289 deregistrations from the child protection in the year to 31 July 2013, a three per cent increase on 2012 and a 34 per cent increase on 2008. The most common reason for deregistration in 2012-13 (in 50 per cent of cases) was that the home situation had improved.

Table 2.5: Number of deregistrations from the child protection register, 2008, 2010, 2012-2013, by length of time on register and reason for deregistration(1)

Year to 31 March Year to 31 July % of total 2013 % change 2012-2013
2008 2010 2012 2013
Length of time registered
Less than 6 months 1,245 1,592 1,929 1,994 46% 3%
6 months to under 1 year 1,148 1,483 1,535 1,582 37% 3%
1 year to under 18 months 470 460 516 428 10% -17%
18 months to under 2 years 202 168 117 131 3% 12%
2 years or more 132 123 58 59 1% 2%
No date of registration 95 2%
Reason for deregistration
Child taken into care & risk reduced 411 538 582 619 14% 6%
Child with other carers 218 275 295 321 7% 9%
Child died 4 4 9 8 0% -11%
Removal of perpetrator 112 81 70 122 3% 74%
Improved home situation 830 1,220 1,742 2,140 50% 23%
Child automatically de-registered due to age 12 8 6 6 0% 0%
Child moved away - no continued risk 24 26 20 16 0% -20%
Other reason(2) 1,586 1,674 1,431 1,015 24% -29%
Reason not known - - - 42
Total 3,197 3,826 4,155 4,289 100% 3%

(1) 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) 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. Scotland's collection year runs from 1 August to 31 July, so end‑year figures are reported at 31 July, while the collection year in England, Wales and Northern Ireland runs from 1 April to 31 March (so end-year figures are at 31 March). In future years, when the individual level child protection collection is more established, it will be possible to provide a 31 March figure for Scotland as well. The cross-UK figures are given as a proportion of under 18s in each country, while the other child protection rates in this chapter are given as a proportion of under 16s.

Chart 7: Cross-UK comparison of rate of children on the child protection register per 10,000 under 18s, 2004-2013

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, with a very sharp increase in the rates of children on the child protection register which peaked in 2009 and has declined since then. Between 2011 and 2013 the rate of registrations in England, Wales and Scotland has stayed approximately the same, while Northern Ireland decreased. Scotland continues to have the lowest levels of children on the child protection register in the UK.

There are links to the cross-UK data underlying Chart 7 in Background Note 1.8 and more information on the comparability of child protection data across the UK here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Children/socialservicestats

Additional tables on child protection are available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Children/PubChildrenSocialWork


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Email: Carrie Graham