Understanding what to do to protect children who are at risk of abuse
All children in Scotland have the right to be protected from abuse or neglect. The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 outlines the legislative framework for Scotland’s child protection system. It covers parental responsibilities and rights, and the duties and powers local public authorities have for supporting and promoting the safety and welfare of children.
Report child abuse
Child abuse is when someone causes (or doesn’t prevent) significant harm to a child.
The abuse can be physical, emotional or sexual. This includes child sexual exploitation, child trafficking, online abuse and witnessing domestic abuse.
It can happen once or over a period of time, and could happen within and outside the family.
Neglect is also child abuse. This is when a parent or carer doesn’t look after a child properly, for example:
- Failing to meet a child’s basic needs, such as not providing food, a home or supervision appropriate for the child’s age
- Failing to get medical or mental health care
- Failing to educate a child or ignoring their special educational needs
- Failing to provide emotional care
How to report abuse
As a PA, you have a duty to report any concerns that you may have that a child is being abused or neglected, or if you are worried that they have been abused or neglected in the past or are at risk in the future.
Call 999 to report a crime in progress or if a child or young person is in immediate danger.
Call the police on 101 if you think a crime has been committed.
You can also contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to report the crime anonymously. They’ll pass the information about the crime to the police.
You can report online abuse to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre.
Get more information about child protection from Police Scotland.
Report child abuse to your local Council
Contact your local council if you think a child or young person is at risk or is being abused or neglected.
Take a look at the resources available below to guide you on issues related to child protection in more detail.