Ministers back campaign to give under-18s right to delete social media posts

The Guardian | 28 July 2015

Government ministers have backed a campaign calling for under-18s to have the right to delete embarrassing and damaging material they have posted on social media that could later harm their job or education prospects.

The iRights coalition has set out five rights that young people should expect online, including the ability to easily edit or delete comments or pictures they have posted on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and to know who is holding or profiting from their information. The group’s proposals come amid growing concern over the fact that the internet permanently records a person’s past mistakes, which can damage anything from job prospects to university offers.

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Cardiff University scientists create new test to help doctors spot signs of life-threatening physical abuse in young children

27 July 2015

Experts in child protection have developed a test designed to help doctors recognise children suffering from life-threatening physical abuse. Abusive head trauma (AHT), sometimes referred to as “shaken baby syndrome”, is the leading cause of death among children who are abused.

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Scots councils paid £1.5m to child abuse victims

The Scotsman | 27 July 2015

SCOTTISH councils have paid out around £1.5 million in compensation to the victims of child abuse during the past decade. Payments were made in relation to physical and sexual abuse which took place in schools and children’s homes.

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UN urges UK to make smacking illegal

BBC News | 24 July 2015

The UK should pass laws to ban parents from smacking their children at home, a United Nations report has suggested. The UN recommended that the UK "put an end to corporal punishment in all settings" and encourage non-violent forms of discipline instead. A government spokeswoman said they did not wish to "criminalise parents for issuing a mild smack".

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WithScotland Vacancy: Research Fellow

WithScotland | 23 July 2015

We wish to appoint a Research Fellow to a new 100% FTE post on a fixed term contract until July 2016. 

The post is based in WithScotland which is located at the University of Stirling in the School of Applied Social Science (SASS). The Research Fellow will provide support to all members of the WithScotland team which includes the Director, Practice Development Coordinator for Child Protection, Research Coordinator, National Coordinator for Child Protection Committees and National Coordinator for Adult Support and Protection.  

Closing date: Thursday 6th August 2015

Further information and how to apply

Minister announces funding for vulnerable young people in work

Scottish Government | 23 July 2015

£302,500 of funding for an In Work Support package for some of Scotland’s most vulnerable young people has been announced by the Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment.

The new funding will work alongside Scotland’s Employment Recruitment Incentive and be directed at those who face the most significant barriers when accessing employment opportunities. This includes young people who are disabled, care leavers, carers and those with criminal convictions aged 16 to 29. 

Further information

Huge scale of online child abuse images revealed on two year anniversary of Prime Minister’s ‘internet crackdown’ speech

NSPCC | 22 July 2015

Exactly two years after the Prime Minister urged industry to ‘obliterate’ child abuse images from the internet, sex offenders are still being convicted at the rate of two a day for possessing them. An NSPCC snapshot, which includes eight cases from Scotland, has revealed the scale of the online child abuse problem, and the challenges police forces face as offenders invent new ways to access the vile trade.  

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Female genital mutilation: Thousands of victims 'residing in the UK'

CNN | 21 July 2015

According to UNICEF, 30 million women worldwide are likely to endure female genital mutilation (FGM) within the next eight years. And a new report suggests that the problem is widespread in the UK. FGM, or cutting, which is illegal in the UK, is a procedure where the female genital organs are partially or fully removed or injured, but without medical reason.

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Further information on FGM from Scottiish Government  

Vacancy: Independent Chair of Falkirk Adult Support & Protection & Child Protection Committees

16 July 2015

Salary: £250 per day (minimum of 48 days per annum to be worked flexibly – subject to annual review)

Child Protection (CP) and Adult Support & Protection (ASP) Committees are committed to the protection of vulnerable children and adults at risk across Falkirk. As independent Chair to both Falkirk Council’s CP and ASP Committees, you will provide effective strategic leadership and direction to these Committees in carrying out their core business functions.

You will have extensive experience of leading partnership groups at a senior level and have a working knowledge of child protection and adult protection legislation and operational requirements. You will be a strategic thinker with excellent communication and influencing skills and a strong commitment to continuous improvement. This appointment is for a period of 2 years. 

Given the independence required in the role, you will not be an employee of Falkirk Council, Police Scotland or NHS Forth Valley. Prior to confirming appointment we will undertake a Disclosure Check.

To apply visit (search on FLK00401)

Closing date – Thursday 30th July 2015.

Give carers of kids with challenges good advocacy

The Scotsman | 16 July 2015

Straight-talking solutions are best, writes Sophie Pilgrim  

As defined by the Scottish Independence Advocacy Alliance, independent advocacy is a way to help people have a stronger voice and to have as much control as possible over their own lives. Advocacy is an important means of ensuring that statutory provision is equitable and accessible to those who, for whatever reason, have more difficulty in being heard.

Full article

SCCYP enquiries service now free on all phones

SCCYP | 16 July 2015

Children, young people and adults can now contact Scotland's Commissioner for Children & Young People for free on 0800 019 1179― from both mobile phones and landlines. 

Previously, mobile service providers were able to charge for calls to 0800 numbers, even if they were free to call from a landline. However, this practice has now been abolished across the UK, meaning we are able to provide the service for free across all devices.

Podcast: Young people discuss Hearings System experiences

SCRA | 16 July 2015

Young people have worked with the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA) to create podcasts about their experiences of the Children’s Hearings System.

The podcasts, which were produced in partnership with Who Cares? Scotland, feature two young people who have attended Hearings giving their thoughts, views and advice on their experiences. 

Available on SCRA’s website, they are designed to offer additional support to children and young people who may be attending a Hearing for the first time.

Homelessness – Pathways and Prevention

IRISS | 15 July 2015

Between June 2014 and April 2015, IRISS (Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services) led a project to explore the perceptions of, and approaches to, innovation in homelessness prevention in Scotland. Through engagement with a variety of partners, including local authorities, third sector, health and Scottish Government, the project captured key messages from a collection of approaches which help support people affected by homelessness.

This website shares the learning from the project. It provides a definition of what homelessness is and summarises the Scottish context. It also presents eight case studies and a range of multimedia resources including audio recorded discussions, videos and an evidence summary.

New FGM App launched

10 July 2015

Researchers at Coventry University have created a new app, endorsed by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, to help protect young girls and women from female genital mutilation. 

The app, which works across most mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and lap tops via an internet browser, is aimed primarily at young girls living in affected communities and at risk from FGM. But it can also be used as an educational tool to teach young people and others the facts and realities of FGM. The app avoids using photographs, diagrams and medical language to make it accessible to young people  

You can check it out at

Views sought on proposed changes to free early learning entitlement

10 July 2015

Parents and carers of young children are being encouraged to respond to a Scottish Government survey on proposed national changes to early learning and childcare entitlement.

The Scottish Government has proposed to increase the provision of free early learning and childcare by 2020 from 600 hours to 1,140 hours per year for children who are three or four years old, as well as for two year olds whose parents/carers are on qualifying benefits.

They are conducting a survey to look at how parents would wish to use the increase, with the results being used to guide policy on early years child care provision. 

Peter Diamond, the OIC’s head of schools, said: “In 2014, free childcare provision entitlement was increased from 475 hours to 600 hours. 

“Prior to this we were providing two-and-a-half hour nursery and pre-school sessions five times a week during school terms. The increase in entitlement led to us developing two different models to deliver the full 600 hours depending on the school circumstances. These were trialled over the 2014/2015 school year and in the main this has worked well.

“The new Scottish Government proposals will see the current entitlement almost doubled, which will of course present significant challenges and additional pressures on our schools. It’s important that parents and carers have their say on how the new system will work, so I would encourage all parents and carers, especially those whose children will be attending early learning settings in 2020, to give their views.”

Access the survey - closes at the end of July. 

Child sexual abuse inquiry 'could last until 2020'

BBC News | 09 July 2015

The sexual abuse of children has left "scars" on victims and society, the chair of an inquiry into historical abuse in England and Wales has said. Justice Lowell Goddard was speaking as she opened the independent inquiry, which she said could last until 2020. It will examine how public bodies handled their duty of care to protect children from abuse.

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Scottish Care Leavers Covenant

08 July 2015

The Scottish Care Leavers Covenant, a project of a cross-sector alliance’ of key stakeholders including Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ) aims to close the gap between policy and practice for care leavers into adulthood. The Covenant is asking people to take part in a policy mapping exercise which takes the form of a survey. The survey will be used to improve understanding of who is active in policy and influencing work on improving support for care leavers in Scotland.  

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New rape advert targets young Scottish men

BBC News | 08 July 2015

Police Scotland has released a hard-hitting new rape prevention advert aimed at young men.  

Part of the ongoing We Can Stop It campaign, the TV and digital advert aims to challenge male behaviour and attitudes towards sexual consent. It is targeted at men aged 16-27 year old men, who carry out a third of rapes reported in Scotland. Chief Constable Sir Stephen House said the ad sent a "clear message" to potential perpetrators.

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Attend final event of Practitioner Research: Outcomes and Partnership (PROP 2)

07 July 2015

The Practitioner Research: Outcomes and Partnership (PROP 2) project is reaching its conclusion. A final event will be held in Edinburgh to hear from the practitioners involved, and the exciting research projects they have been working on. Topics covered include dementia, health and social care and learning disability.

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The hug from a stranger that changed the life of one of Scotland's forgotten children in care

The Herald | 07 July 2015

WHEN Connor Chalmers was taken into care as a deeply troubled and violent eight-year-old it was a hug from a stranger that started the process of rebuilding his life.

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Childsmile - Successful Reduction of Childhood Dental Decay In Scotland

The Dentist | 07 July 2015

The successful reduction of childhood dental decay in Scotland associated with the preventive programme Childsmile was outlined by Lorna Macpherson, Professor of Dental Public Health at the University of Glasgow Dental School at a press conference on July 3. 

More information 

Oral & Dental Aspects of Child Abuse & Neglect - WithScotland Briefing 

Tools used for age assessments very inaccurate, study finds

Community Care | 07 July 2015

Methods that local authorities use to assess the age of asylum seekers are inaccurate more than a third of the time, a study has found.  The methods used to assess if asylum seekers are children are wrong in more than a third of cases, a new study has found. Age assessments use markers of physical growth and development to determine developmental age, and is a tool used by local authorities and immigration bodies to assess if asylum seekers are children or adults. However the study, published today and funded by the Medical Research Council, found three of the methods used (X-Rays of the hand-wrist, MRI scans of the wrist, and X-Rays of the third molars), are very inaccurate.

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Social workers praise 'Tale of laughing boy', a film tribute to man who died preventable death at learning disability unit

07 July 2015

At a conference focusing on human rights in social work a film tribute to 18-year-old Connor Sparrowhawk was played. Connor died in July 2013 while he was a patient at a learning disability unit in England. An independent review found that his death was preventable. 

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New legal rights resources for children, young people and young mothers

together | 07 July 2015

The Scottish Law Centre has recently published 'Helping Hands', a resource for children and young people to express their views with regards to contact, and 'Pre to 3', a guide for young mothers on their legal rights.  

The 'Helping Hands' forms have been used by children as young as four years old but can also be used by older children and young people. It comes with a guidance for the adult helper, for younger children and young people who fill the form out themselves. They are easy to use and make sure that the views of children and young people are heard in contact situations.

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Human rights watchdog sends dossier of concerns to UN over protections for children in Scotland

06 July 2015

The Scottish Human Rights Commission has urged the United Nations to demand the criminal age of responsibility for children be raised in Scotland from the age of eight.

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Domestic abuse protection goes national

06 July 2015

FM announces Disclosure Scheme to be made available across Scotland. Women and men across Scotland who suspect their partner has an abusive background may now have that information disclosed to them, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced. Police Scotland’s Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse in Scotland will be rolled out across the country later this year.

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New mental health unit

Scottish Government | 03 July 2015

Dundee facility provides inpatient care for children and adolescents Mental Health Minister, Jamie Hepburn, will visit a new £8 million unit for child and adolescent mental health in Dundee today. The Young People’s Unit provides a 12 bed inpatient unit, including family accommodation for parents. It provides specialist care to young people from across the north of Scotland. All bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms and there is a private outdoor space, education facility and a gym.

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More than a third of police child abuse investigations 'inadequate', says watchdog

The Telegraph | 02 July 2015

More than a third of child abuse investigations by the police are inadequate, a damning report by watchdogs has warned. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary found 38 per cent of inquiries in a sample of nearly 600 were not conducted to a good enough standard.  

Among cases involving online child abuse performance was even worse, the inspectors found. A national sample of 124 online abuse cases found 52 per cent were not investigated properly – and in one unnamed police force a staggering 72 per cent were sub-standard.

Full article

Police highlight 'concerns' over how to implement SNPs controversial Named Persons scheme

The Herald | 02 July 2015

POLICE have warned of a "lack of clarity" over flagship government plans for every Scottish child to have a state-appointed guardian.

As key stakeholders thrash out how the scheme should be implemented, the new national force signalled concerns about how it will share sensitive information about youngsters with so-called Named Persons. Starting next summer, these officials - usually teachers or health visitors - will have a formal responsibility for the welfare of specific children in their care, including access to threats to their safety.  

In a formal entry in to its corporate risk register, the national force, which supports the Named Person scheme, highlighted complications in how it could pass on such information. It said: "Police Scotland does not currently have a consistent process on how such risk and concerns are identified, triaged managed and shared.  

"In the absence of a national functioning Named Person Service, there is a concern that partners do not have efficient or secure systems in place to receive and manage such notifications."

Further information

Get involved in SDS workforce development

SSSC | 02 July 2015

The SDS Workforce Project is changing! Find out about opportunities to get involved, make your voice heard, and influence policy and systems .

We are pleased that the Scottish Government has confirmed further funding for SDS Workforce Development in 2015-18. We think that it’s important that we learn from our experience on the project so far. To help us do this, we commissioned a ‘critical friend evaluation’ to help identify what worked well, and what we need to improve on.

Learning from our Critical Friend…. What worked well?

  • Overall, people told us that being involved in workstream group had a positive impact on their personal learning
  • Individuals felt they benefited from building wider networks and connections
  • There was some evidence of learning from the workstreams influencing practice in the workplace

What do we need to improve on?  

  • We need to make sure the benefits of this work reach a much larger proportion of the workforce  
  • We need to create more opportunities to make an impact on strategic plans and thinking (both locally within organisations and partnerships, and nationally at policy level)  
  • We need to be able to explain clearly what we are doing and why we are doing it, as well as the difference we think this will make.

Building on this learning, the SDS Workforce Programme in 2015-16 will look slightly different. The SDS projects are being taken forward with closer links to Workforce Development for Integration and for Carers. We hope this will help to promote the common public service reform themes of personal outcomes, participation and collaborative working, make better use of resources, avoid duplication and provide wider opportunities for involvement.

Get involved! Please have a read through the list of activities, and let us know which projects you’d like to get involved in by 17th July. We’re looking forward to hearing from you and to working together!  

Confusion over plans to appoint 'named person' for every child in Scotland

The Herald | 01 July 2015

MINISTERS are under pressure to rethink controversial plans to appoint a state-appointed guardian to look after the welfare of every child in Scotland after dozens of groups raised concerns.

Many of the bodies and charities involved in the Scottish Government's Named Person scheme are unsure of their roles little more than a year before it is due to roll out across the country. The proposals, contained in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, aim to give everyone under 18 a Named Person, usually a teacher or health visitor, to oversee them from August next year. He or she would be a contact point if welfare issues needed to be raised with police or social services. However, there are major concerns among bodies including health boards, councils and the third sector. Their fears emerged in a consultation on draft guidance which is contained in an analysis by the government. Simon Calvert, spokesman for NO2NP said it indicated a growing strength of public opinion against the proposals and the analysis had all-but ignored responses from individuals in a "shocking" attempt to spin statistics.

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Public bodies legally required to prevent radicalisation of young people from today

The Herald | 01 July 2015

KEY public bodies across Scotland, England and Wales will be legally required to take action to stop people being drawn into terrorism, under new rules introduced from today. 

The measures came into force as the first of the 30 British tourists shot dead in the Tunisian beach massacre are expected to be returned to their loved ones. Their families had last seen them before they flew off on holidays to the resort of Sousse.

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Smacking must be banned to bring UK into line with international law - report to UN insists

The Telegraph | 01 July 2015

The UK will be breaking international law unless smacking is completely banned, Britain’s four official children’s commissioners have insisted.

In a report submitted to the United Nations, the four commissioners – representing England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – are demanding an “immediate” repeal of all laws allowing parents to deliberately hurt their children. The Government must also teach parents who smack alternative “non-violent forms of child rearing and behaviour management”, they add.

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'Clare's Law' to be extended across Scotland

BBC News | 01 July 2015

A trial scheme which allows people to be told if their partner has been violent in the past is to be extended across Scotland. The six-month trial in Aberdeen and Ayrshire saw 22 people warned their partners had history of domestic abuse. Disclosures can be triggered by victims, friends, relatives, social workers or police officers.  

The disclosure scheme, known as Clare's Law, will be rolled out across the country later this year.

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