What is child abuse? Child abuse is when someone harms a child or young person. Abuse can be physical, emotional, or sexual. It can also include neglect.
28 June 2012
All children and young people have a right to be cared for and protected and we have a part to play in ensuring that children are safe and their needs met. In Scotland, we believe that child protection is everyone’s job and everyone’s responsibility. We want to build a society where we continue to care about the welfare of children. When people report concerns about a child or a young person, they will be taken seriously. Don’t keep it to yourself if you’re worried, you may have important information that could help a child and their family.
Very few adults deliberately harm children and when children are harmed families are usually in need of help, support and information rather than the removal of their children or services taking a punitive approach.
Social work and the police have a duty to investigate any form of child abuse but everyone has a responsibility to provide information, which can assist in keeping children safe. You should feel able to approach a teacher, nursery worker or health visitor, for example, as they should work together to support children and families. Better to be safe than sorry and discuss your concerns with someone who knows the child.
Families often need to know about services available and how to access them and can use this support to help them look after and care for their children or deal with other difficulties, which are putting stress on a family.
Children are rarely removed from home unless it is an emergency situation and they need to be removed for their safety. Services will make every effort to support a family to find solutions, which are best for the child.
If a child is placed on the child protection register, the aim of the child’s plan would be to help the family make the changes to care for their child. Only when this does not happen, for a whole variety of reasons, will legal steps be taken to remove a child. A Children’s Panel and/or the Sheriff Court will make this decision.
27 June 2012
Members of the public, families and communities all fit into this assessment of a situation. Without your help vital information and evidence can be missed - we have come along way in Scotland in listening and responding to communities and taking your concerns seriously. We want to continue building on that partnership for the benefit of our children.
- Parents are responsible for their children’s safety
- Children are best cared for within their own families
- Very few children are removed from home following an allegation of abuse
- Social work and Police become involved once a concern is shared and it involves risk to a child
- Decisions about abuse need careful assessment and planning