National guidance for child protection in Scotland 2014

This guidance has been superseded by the 2021 version .

Appendix E

Glossary of Terms

Chief Officers' Group : The Chief Officers Group is the collective expression for the Local Police Commander and Chief Executives of the local authority and NHS Board in each local area. Chief Officers are individually and collectively responsible for the leadership, direction and scrutiny of their respective child protection services and their Child Protection Committees.

Child : A child can be defined differently in different legal contexts. See the section on legislative definitions in Part 1.

Child abuse : Abuse (and neglect) is a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse a child by inflicting, or by failing to act to prevent, significant harm to the child. In a child protection context, there are three key different types of abuse that can be identified. Physical abuse is the causing of physical harm to a child or young person. Emotional abuse is persistent emotional neglect or ill treatment of a child causing severe and persistent adverse effects on the child's emotional development. Sexual abuse is any act that involves the child in any activity for the sexual gratification of another whether or not it is claimed that the child either consented or assented.

Child neglect: Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child's basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child's health or development. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide: adequate food, shelter and clothing; to protect a child from physical harm or danger; to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment or; to provide a child's basic emotional needs.

Child's Plan/Child Protection Plan : Where those working with the child and family have evidence that suggests that one or more targeted interventions is required to meet the child's wellbeing needs, then a 'Child's Plan' should be drawn up to include a single plan of action, managed and reviewed through a single meeting structure even if the child is involved in several processes. Where a child protection intervention is required, the Child's Plan will exist and incorporate a 'Child Protection Plan' for as long as this is deemed to be necessary.

Child protection: Child protection is when a child requires protection from child abuse or neglect. For a child to require protection, it is not required that child abuse or neglect has taken place, but rather a risk assessment has identified a likelihood or risk of significant harm from abuse or neglect.

Child Protection Case Conference ( CPCC): The purpose of a CPCC is to consider whether a child - including an unborn child - is at risk of significant harm and if so, to consider a multi-agency action plan to reduce the risk of significant harm (including the development of a Child Protection Plan). They are formal multi-agency meetings which enable services and agencies to share information, assessments and chronologies in circumstances where there are suspicions or reports of child abuse and neglect. There are several types of CPCC, as described in detail in the guidance: an initial CPCC; a pre-birth CPCC; a review CPCC and a transfer CPCC.

Child Protection Committee: Child Protection Committees are locally-based, inter-agency strategic partnerships responsible for child protection policy and practice across the public, private and wider third sectors. On behalf of Chief Officers, their role is to provide individual and collective leadership and direction for the management of child protection services in their area.

Child Protection Register: All local authorities are responsible for maintaining a central register, known as the Child Protection Register, of all children - including unborn children - who are the subject of an inter-agency Child Protection Plan. It has no legal status but provides an administrative system for alerting practitioners that there is sufficient professional concern about a child to warrant an inter-agency Child Protection Plan.

Compulsory Measures of Supervision: Compulsory Measures of Supervision is in respect of a child, such measures of supervision as may be imposed upon him by a children's hearing.

Core group: A 'core group' is a group of identified individuals, including the Lead Professional and the child and parents/carers, who have a crucial role to play in implementing and reviewing the Child Protection Plan.

Getting it right for every child ( GIRFEC): The GIRFEC approach is a Scotland-wide programme of action to improve the wellbeing of all children and young people. Its primary components include: a common approach to gaining consent and sharing information where appropriate; an integral role for children, young people and families in assessment, planning and intervention; a co-ordinated and unified approach to identifying concerns, assessing needs, agreeing actions and outcomes, based on the Wellbeing Indicators; a Named Person in universal services; a Lead Professional to co-ordinate and monitor multi-agency activity where necessary; and a skilled workforce within universal services that can address needs and risks at the earliest possible point. Key elements of the GIRFEC approach, such as Named Person and Child's Plan, are given a statutory basis throught the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. These provisions are not expected to be commenced until 2016; however, in the meantime guidance to support implementation of the GIRFEC approach is available.

Harm/significant harm: 'Harm' means the ill treatment or the impairment of health or development of the child - in this context, 'development' can mean physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development and 'health' can mean physical or mental health. Child protection is closely linked to the risk of significant harm - whether the harm suffered, or likely to be suffered, by a child is 'significant' is determined by comparison of the child's health and development with what might be reasonably expected of a similar child.

Health Visitor: Health visitors play a pivotal role in contributing to the health and wellbeing of children, young people and families. The focus of professional practice is early intervention; prevention and health promotion for children and families; promoting social inclusion and reducing inequalities in health; addressing key public health priorities and supporting the capacity of families to parent within their local communities through the provision of universal services.

Lead Professional: For a child who is receiving support from a number of different agencies, the Child's Plan will be multi-agency. In these circumstances, the role of the Lead Professional is key to ensuring-

  • that support is coordinated across agencies,
  • the child, young person and family are kept informed and are actively involved in the process, and
  • the agreed support is being taken forward in line with the plan.

The Lead Professional will be the professional who is best placed to carry out that coordinating role and work with the family to improve outcomes for the child, or young person. The role of the Named Person in relation to promoting, supporting and safeguarding the child's wellbeing, will continue to be important alongside the coordinating role of the Lead Professional

My World Triangle: As part of the GIRFEC 'practice model' for assessing risk and need, the My World Triangle is a framework that provides a starting point for considering what risks might be present in a child's life. It focuses attention on the three dimensions of a child's world: the child themselves; their family; and their wider environment.

Named Person: The Named Person is a professional point of contact in universal services, most often known to the family and available as a single point of contact both to support children and families their parents/carers when there is a need, and to act as a point of contact for other practitioners who may have a concern about the child's wellbeing.

Notification of Concern: Where a practitioner has a concern about a risk to a child's wellbeing, they should share that concern with the child's Named Person as soon as is reasonably possible. Where concerns about possible harm to a child arise these should always be shared with the appropriate agency (normally police or social work) so that staff responsible for investigating the circumstances can determine whether that harm is significant. Concerns should be shared without delay as per local guidelines. Once a concern is shared, information will be gathered by the investigating agencies to determine whether a response under child protection is required.

Parents/carers: A 'parent' is defined as someone who is the genetic or adoptive mother or father of the child. A 'carer' is someone other than a parent who has rights/responsibilities for looking after a child.

Resilience Matrix: The Resilience Matrix is a tool for analysing what the information gathered around a particular child protection concern might mean for a child. It provides practitioners with a framework for weighing up the particular risks against any protective factors for the individual child in relation to resilience, vulnerability, adversity and the protective environment.

Risk: In the context of this guidance, risk is the likelihood or probability of a particular outcome given the presence of factors in a child's or young person's life. What is critical with respect to child protection is the risk of significant harm from abuse or neglect.

Wellbeing Indicators: The Wellbeing Indicators are the broad framework for identifying a child's needs where potential child protection (and other) concerns are identified. They do so under eight headings - safe; healthy; achieving; nurtured; active; respected; responsible; and included - which are used to identify what needs to change in the Child's Plan (or the incorporated Child Protection Plan) and how progress on outcomes should be monitored and recorded.


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