The UK’s four nations England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have their own child protection system and laws to help protect children from abuse and neglect. Each nation has a framework of legislation, guidance and practice to identify children who are at risk of harm and take action to protect those children and prevent further abuse occurring. The responsibility of policies and laws which covers most parts of safeguarding and child protection within education, social welfare and health is down to each of the UK nations. Laws are passed to avoid behaviour that can harm children or require action to protect children.
Although each nation has different child protection systems in place they all cover the same principles. The Scottish child protection policies, legislation and statutory guidance is set up and the responsibility of the Scottish Government.
The National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2014 aims to enhance the way all professionals and organisations work collectively to give children the protection they require, quickly and successfully at the earliest possible stage. Furthermore it focuses on the shared responsibility that all agencies and services have for protecting children and safeguarding their well-being.
The National Guidance for Child Protection was first published in 2010 and established a national framework to facilitate local practices and procedures. The Scottish Government made a commitment to guarantee that it is frequently refreshed to make sure it is relevant and up to date in protecting children. Improvements in services and good practice are evident although cannot become complacent. It offers a shared vision to improve outcomes for children and young people including Scotland’s most vulnerable. It provides clear step-by-step guidelines ensuring practitioners understand their part in protecting the children and young people. It clarifies roles and responsibilities, what to do in different circumstances, guidance on confidentiality, information sharing, identifying, responding to concerns about children and clearly emphasising that the protection of children is the most important consideration.
Within each national guidance each local authority has their own guidance which should be interrupted along with their own individual agencies and services. The Forth Valley Inter Agency Child Protection Guidance 2016 is based on the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2014 and aims to support organisations and practitioners in working together to give children the protection they need.