Child protection guidance and materials

This page contains useful guidance, toolkits, forms and information for staff on a variety of topics relating to child protection.

A.D.A.M. (Another's Drinking Affects Me)

The A.D.A.M. website is for children and young people aged 11-16 years who may be affected or are concerned by another person's drinking (this could be a Mum, Dad, a grandparent, brother, sister or friend).

A.D.A.M. has been developed in consultation with young people who have experienced harm as a result of someone else's drinking and offers an opportunity to explore if and how they are being affected. There are over 51,000 children and young people in Scotland living with a parent who has an alcohol problem. Many will suffer in silence and may find it difficult to talk about what is happening at home. A.D.A.M. offers suggestions on how to cope and provides sources of help and support.

Another's Drinking Affects Me (A.D.A.M.)

Mentor - Drug Prevention for Parents resource

Mentor is the leading international federation of not-for-profit organisations working around the world to empower young people and prevent drug abuse. This guide offers parents and caregivers easily accessible information about drug prevention to help them raise empowered, healthy and drug free children.

New psychoactive substances multi agency briefing

This briefing has very usefully been produced by Aberdeen City Alcohol and Drug Partnership. It aims to pull together as much relevant and up to date information and links around NPS as possible into one reference document. It provides a 'one-stop' reference for information on NPS issues which will be updated as necessary.

Alcohol and Drugs Partnership bulletin

You can download the latest bulletin from the Alcohol and Drugs Partnership below: 

The Child Protection and Disability Toolkit has been produced in partnership by WithScotland and the Scottish Government's Ministerial Working Group on Child Protection and Disability. It is aimed at practitioners and managers in child and family and disability services and is the only toolkit of its kind available to practitioners in Scotland.

It includes information on research, a set of training and resource materials designed to help professionals understand the issues and good practice guidance to supplement the Scottish Government National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2014. It also contains sections such as 'myth busters', case studies as well as a DVD in which disabled parents speak of their experiences.

The Disability Toolkit has been updated to include information on the sexual exploitation of young people with learning disabilities

Other useful information and guidance is contained in the Scottish Government National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2014: Additional Notes for Practitioners - Protecting Disabled Children from Abuse and Neglect. These practice notes are for all practitioners, including those working in children and family social work; health; education; residential care; early years; youth services; youth justice; police; independent and third sector; and adult services who might be supporting parents with disabled children or involved in the transition between child and adult services.

CSE guides for practitioners in Aberdeen City

The Child Sexual Exploitation group has produced a short guide for staff across all agencies and services. The CSE Strategy and Extended Guide has also now been finalised.

Revised definition of child sexual exploitation for Scotland

The Scottish Government has now published online the revised definition of child sexual exploitation for Scotland. This is the definition used in our Strategy and Extended Guide to Child Sexual Exploitation.

The revised definition and accompanying information has been developed as part of the Update of the National Action Plan to Prevent and Tackle Child Sexual Exploitation. The purpose of the information is to aid practitioners and agencies in the early identification of, and effective multi-agency responses for those children who may be at risk of, or victims of child sexual exploitation.

The Definition and Practitioner Briefing Paper firmly set this type of abuse within the context of child sexual abuse, and provides further detail to aid awareness and understanding. Detail of the legislative context of CSE in Scotland is also set out in the briefing paper.

The definition, and associated papers have been developed with the National Child Sexual Exploitation Working Group and written by Dr Helen Beckett and Joanne Walker from the University of Bedfordshire.

CSE and disability

The Child Protection and Disability Toolkit has recently been updated to include information on the sexual exploitation of young people with learning disabilities.

Scheme of response for CSE

There is now an amended CSE Scheme of Response for use by all staff within Children's Social Work. This document should replace the previously issued flowchart, as we are refining our processes in line with feedback we have received from staff. Staff should follow the flowchart when there are concerns that a youngster, or group of youngsters might be at risk of sexual exploitation.

National CSE awareness campaign

The Scottish Government has produced TV adverts and other materials to support the National CSE Awareness Campaign. For more information on the national campaign, please visit

Unprotected, Overprotected

This UK-wide research study was commissioned by Comic Relief and addresses a significant gap in current understanding of the sexual exploitation of children and young people with learning disabilities.

Request form for a Care and Risk Management Meeting

This request form has been used successfully to ensure appropriate consideration is given to what planning is required when there are concerns regarding potential or actual risk to children.

Police awareness raising materials

These police awareness raising materials have been produced for England and Wales, but a lot of the content applies and is of interest from a Scottish perspective. You can access the following materials on the CSE Police and Prevention website:

Equally Safe

An updated version of Equally Safe, Scotland's strategy to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls in Scotland has been published.

Violence against women and girls damages health and wellbeing, limits freedom and potential, and is a violation of the most fundamental human rights. The Scottish Government, CoSLA and key partners are committed to preventing and eradicating it once and for all.

This strategy, which was originally published in 2014 and has now been updated, provides a framework to help to do just that.  It was developed by the Scottish Government and COSLA in association with a wide range of partners from public and third sector.

Disclosure scheme for domestic abuse in Scotland (Clare's Law)

A pilot scheme which allows people to be told if their partner has been violent in the past is to be extended across Scotland. The disclosure scheme, often referred to in the media as 'Clare's Law' has been trialled in Aberdeen and Ayrshire over a six month period.  In that time, 22 people were warned their partners had history of domestic abuse.  The Scheme will continue in Aberdeen and victims, friends, relatives, social workers or police officers can trigger the disclosures.

What is FGM?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines FGM as "all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons". Globally the practice is mostly carried out by traditional 'circumcisers', who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. However, more than 18% of all FGM is performed by health care providers, and this trend is increasing. FGM is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

The law in Scotland

FGM has been unlawful in Scotland since 1985. The Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005 re-enacted the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 and extended protection by making it a criminal offence to have FGM carried out either in Scotland or abroad by giving those offences extra-territorial powers. The Act also increased the penalty on conviction on indictment from 5 to 14 years' imprisonment.

Multi agency guidance

You can download a copy of the multi agency guidance document below:

Statement from Scottish Government

The Scottish Government has released a statement on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). It has been translated into various languages and can be downloaded below:


In collaboration with the Scottish Government, the Women's Support Project has developed a range of information materials on FGM. These materials include:

  • A Scottish DVD (Sara's Story) outlining the law, child protection, prevention work in communities and services for women and girls who have experienced FGM.
  • Information leaflets for practitioners highlighting key points, good practice, resources and services, and a standardised training package and risk assessment tool. 
  • An FGM statement that sets out the law in relation to FGM in Scotland. The purpose of this statement is to allow a person who may be at risk to show it to family friends and or relatives when travelling abroad to remind them that FGM is a serious offence in Scotland and the UK and that there are severe penalties (up to 14 years in prison) for anyone found guilty of the offence.

You can access the DVD and other materials at Female Genital Mutilation Aware - Resources

What is a forced marriage?

A forced marriage is a marriage in which one or both parties do not (or, in the case of some adults with learning or physical disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and duress is involved. Duress includes both physical and emotional pressure. It is very different from arranged marriage, where both parties give their full and free consent to the marriage.


The Forced Marriage etc. (Protection and Jurisdiction) (Scotland) Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 22 March 2011 to provide a specific civil remedy for those threatened with forced marriage and those already in such a marriage. The Act received Royal Assent on 27 April 2011 and came into force on 28 November 2011.

New legislation

From 30 September 2014, forcing someone into marriage was made a criminal offence in Scotland.

Forced marriage was made a criminal offence in England and Wales on 16 June 2014, under the same Act.

Useful guidance

The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 came into force on 31 May 2016.

Child trafficking is a crime that is a Child Protection concern involving the illegal trade and exploitation of children. It is a real and escalating problem with a threefold rise in cases of child trafficking in
Scotland since 2011. Child trafficking does not essentially mean that a child has to cross international boundaries but merely be moved from one location to another within towns and cities across
Scotland for the purposes of exploitation. In other words, a child can be trafficked from one street in Aberdeen to another.
Tackling child trafficking requires a multi-agency response at all levels. The Scottish Government has prepared a protocol, Inter-Agency Guidance for Child Trafficking, in order to provide information and guidance to all members of the children's workforce so that professionals and others are able to identify trafficked children and make appropriate referrals so that victims can receive protection and support. Please see the Resources section on the Scottish Government's human trafficking web page for more information. We report child trafficking nationally through the National Referral Mechanism. The referral document is below.

Practitioners in Aberdeen will find the multi agency short guide for practitioners in Aberdeen City useful. We are also in the course of developing a strategy and extended practitioners guide in relation to child trafficking.

There was a change to the Child Protection categories of concern from 1 August 2016. Child Exploitation was removed as a category of concern and Forced and Dangerous Labour was added.

Other useful documents: 


An app has been launched by leading anti-slavery charity Unseen to complement the Modern Slavery Helpline. The app, provides a simple guide to recognising the signs of modern slavery and makes reporting it to the Helpline as easy as a click of a button. You can download it in apple, google play and windows app stores for free.

Following a judgment of the Supreme Court, the Scottish Government are making changes to the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. Those changes will relate to the information sharing provisions in the legislation. The Practitioners Guide to Information Sharing, Confidentiality and Consent will be revised once those changes to the legislation are known. In the meantime, please use the Practitioners Guide with that in mind. The overarching principles of the Data Protection Act 1998 apply. If you are in any doubt about the sharing of information in particular circumstances, contact your agency's legal advisers.

Training opportunities

You can book your place on a training course for practitioners working in children’s services on the Eventbrite page.

Free training is also available through the Alcohol and Drugs Partnership covering many topics relevant to child protection.

CELCIS - Caring for Vulnerable Children course

This free course considers what is meant by risk and vulnerability. It looks at how children grow and develop, and how we can provide them with containment and security via meaningful relationships and attachments. It also looks at the particular skills involved in communicating with children and young people.

The Child Protection Committee is currently developing a strategy and multi-agency guidance in relation to neglect. 

CEOP and the National Crime Agency have created up to date guides for parents and professionals to learn about current social media trends among young people. The guides are written in a simple and effective way that answer common questions adults have about popular apps and highlight potential risks that come with using certain forms of social media.  

If you are worried about a child's safety, please contact us.

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