|Continued increase in registrations and deregistrations but a plateau in the total number on the child protection register after a period of increase|
|Continuing decrease in length of time children tend to spend on the child protection register|
|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).
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.
|2000||2005||2010||2011||2012(2)||2013||% of total 2013||Rate per 1,000 under 16s 2013(3)|
(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.
|Argyll & Bute||39||2.7||48||3.4||17||1.2|
|Dumfries & Galloway||101||4.1||94||3.9||78||3.1|
|Edinburgh, City of||244||3.4||223||3.1||262||3.6|
|Perth & Kinross||62||2.5||41||1.5||49||2.0|
(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%).
|Concerns identified at case conferences||2012(2)||2013||% of children registered at 31 July 2013|
|Parental substance misuse||892||993||37%|
|Parental mental health problems||501||600||22%|
|Child Placing themselves at risk||43||56||2%|
|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
|Time since last deregistration||Year to 31 March||Year to 31 July||% of total 2013(2)|
|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%|
(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%.
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.
|Year to 31 March||Year to 31 July||% of total 2013||% change 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%|
|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%|
|Reason not known||-||-||-||42|
(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.
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
Email: Carrie Graham