Child protection

Child protection is everyone's responsibility.

If you are worried about the safety of a child in Aberdeen call:

  • 01224 306877 (Joint Child Protection Team)
  • 0800 731 5520 (Emergency Out of Hours)
  • 101 (Police Scotland)

Contact us even if you are unsure, then we can take steps to assess the risk to the child and, if needed, to protect them.

The Scottish Government has published the report of the Child Protection Improvement Programme (CPIP) and the report of the Child Protection Systems Review, along with a suite of recommendations and actions.

The CPIP report sets out 35 actions covering children's hearings; leadership and workforce development; inspections of children's services; neglect; data and evidence; child sexual exploitation; child internet safety; and trafficking.

The Systems Review report makes 12 recommendations, covering Initial and Significant Case Reviews, Child Protection Committees, the Child Protection Register, and matters of leadership, governance and accountability.

The National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2014 is the child protection guidance used across all agencies and services in Aberdeen.

Reference should no longer be made to the NESCPC Guidelines 2012 and all child protection policies should be updated to reflect this.  The National Guidance is up to date in connection with child protection matters and provides useful advice on the impact of matters such as domestic abuse, drug and alcohol misuse, child sexual exploitation, online abuse and neglect. Please note that, in practice, child protection procedures will not change.

Here are some questions and answers relating to child protection.

Children can be abused in different ways. They can be physically injured, for example by punching, hitting, slapping, biting, kicking, being burned or cut. They can also be abused sexually, which means that they have experienced inappropriate sexual behaviour or language. Emotional abuse, where a child is constantly criticised, ignored or humiliated, also causes harm. Neglect is another form of abuse, where a child is not properly fed, clothed or sheltered or kept clean.

Children who have been abused rarely tell, but there are signs which may make you worry that a child has been abused. The child may have unexplained bruising, or bruising in an unusual place. Not all abuse leaves signs of physical injury. The child may seem afraid, quiet or withdrawn, be afraid to go home, or seem hungry, tired or unkempt. You may be concerned if a child is left alone or unsupervised, has too much responsibility for their age, is acting in a sexually inappropriate way or is misusing drugs or alcohol. You may also see behaviour in an adult which makes you worry about any children they care for. For example, an adult may be acting violently or sexually towards a child, misusing drugs or alcohol while caring for a child or be verbally abusive towards a child. You should report your concerns. You do not have to give your name.

If you have concerns about a child in Aberdeen please contact:

  • 01224 306877 (Joint Child Protection Team)
  • 0800 731 5520 (Emergency Out of Hours)
  • 101 (Police Scotland)

If you are worried about a child, you can also speak to a health visitor, teacher, nursery worker, family doctor, social worker, police officer or children's reporter.

You could speak to a health visitor, school nurse, teacher, nursery worker, family doctor, social worker, police officer, children's reporter or any adult you feel you can trust. You can speak to a social worker on 01224 306877 or the police on 101. If you prefer, you can call Childline free on 0800 1111 at any time, to talk about any problem.

If a young person tells you they are being abused:

  • Stay calm and listen to them
  • Never promise to keep it a secret
  • Tell them you must let someone else know
  • Remind them that they are not to blame and are doing the right thing
  • Report it, but leave any investigation to child protection agencies

Your concern will be treated seriously and acted upon. We will make sure the child is safe. We may speak to the child and family to help assess the situation. We will check whether the child is known to us and what information is held. Once we have finished our enquiries there are a range of things which might happen. We may decide that no action is needed. We may offer the family support, or put them in touch with other agencies which can provide them with services. In some cases it may be necessary to take legal action to protect the child.

We will treat all the information you give us with care. We will not share any information, including your name, unless the child's safety or wellbeing requires it. If you do not give your name, enquiries can still be made into the child's care and welfare. However, withholding your name may make it more difficult for those looking into these concerns as there may be further information you could give.
 

You will be advised of the process in the case of suspected child abuse, but the outcome of an investigation will remain confidential.

The Children's Social Work team

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