People arriving from Ukraine - risk and need: public protection guidance

Guidance for all practitioners involved in safeguarding of children and adults who are arriving in Scotland from Ukraine to identify and respond to risk and need.

Early identification of need and risk

There will be children and adults whose needs were previously met within their communities. They may require formal support and safeguarding within Scotland, depending on their circumstances on arrival, including proximity of accommodation to their informal support networks. Identifying needs and concern will require a level of immediate assessment and follow up support, in keeping with existing statutory responsibilities wherever necessary.  Thereafter, there is likely to be a need for regular ongoing assessment and support.

Adults with additional support needs, including adults at risk of harm, may be travelling with carers (relatives or others) who are able to safeguard and meet their needs with minimal support. Additional consideration should be given during the matching process for people with multiple complex needs who require care and support, in addition to accommodation, with a host family.

The vast majority of children will arrive with family members who are able to safeguard and meet their needs with minimal support and signposting.

An initial assessment of needs should be undertaken within a Welcome Hub. Clear lines of communication between the hub and the receiving authority should be in place to pass on relevant information, with the consent of the person arriving from Ukraine. It is noted that consent is not required in cases where there are child protection concerns, or in cases where it is known or believed that an adult is at risk of harm, as per the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007.

With this guide is a welcome checklist for people arriving from Ukraine. This is designed to guide those welcoming a person or family from Ukraine with immediate health, welfare, or protection considerations; and can be adapted for local use.

Any child or adult at risk of harm, regardless of their nationality or journey route, should be referred immediately to the local social work department and/or Police Scotland.

Assessing wellbeing on arrival

Consideration should be given to whether assessment or intervention is required because the individual:

  • is deaf or hearing impaired
  • is blind or visually impaired
  • has dual sensory impairment
  • has additional communication support needs
  • has additional needs due to mental or significant physical disability and/or mental health difficulties or cognitive impairment
  • is pregnant
  • requires immediate mental health intervention
  • requires consideration for admission to hospital or residential social care environment

Some additional support needs may be difficult to identify on arrival, particularly if there is a language barrier.

Information should be passed to the local authority where the person is at the time the support needs are identified. Attention should be given to anyone who may require immediate attention due to a physical or mental health concern.

People arriving from Ukraine are entitled to the same access to health and social care provision as Scottish citizens. Health, social work and social care professionals should therefore:

  • identify specific support needs of those individuals
  • following an assessment of need, make referrals for those children or adults to the appropriate departments who can offer support. This may include paediatric services for disabled children and those with developmental needs
  • recognise that there will be a requirement for rapid access to Community Mental Health and Psychology teams for a small number of individuals with pre-existing conditions or acute onset of symptoms, particularly if the journey and/or absence from previous treatments (including medicines) may have been exacerbated by (or are likely to exacerbate) the conditions
  • consider the particular needs of children and young people with pre-existing mental health needs who may require access to therapeutic support and/or mental health services
  • consider the needs of perinatal women, who may require timely access to midwife, maternity, mental health or other services. Midwives and maternity staff should refer to the Royal College of Midwives guide to caring for vulnerable migrant women



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