Child Protection

All children and young people in Scotland have the right to be cared for and protected from harm and to grow up in a safe environment in which their rights and needs are respected.

Everyone has a responsibility to protect children; to ensure that they are effectively safeguarded from abuse, to promote the welfare of children and to report suspected child abuse to the relevant authorities.  This includes your community group.

What is Child Abuse?

Child abuse is defined loosely as basic needs not being met, in a manner appropriate to their age and stage of development and being at risk through avoidable acts of commission or omission on the part of relatives, guardians and carers. Professionals working to protect children (that is, police, health workers and social workers) have further defined child abuse according to the categories of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. 

What if your group does not work directly with children?

Even if your group is not working with children directly, there may come a time when a child decides they need a trustworthy and respected adult to confide in and they may turn to a member of your staff or a volunteer. Your group therefore has a duty to ensure staff and volunteers are equipped with the necessary information and knowledge to be able to offer that child guidance and support.

It is important to have one person on your committee to monitor child protection issues. This means they are responsible for ensuring your policies are up to date, clearly displayed, read and understood by your staff and volunteers.

They should also know who the Social Work contact is in your area and have the phone numbers handy for both Social Work and police. 

Child abuse is defined loosely as basic needs not being met, in a manner appropriate to their age and stage of development and being at risk through avoidable acts of commission or omission on the part of relatives, guardians and carers. Professionals working to protect children (that is, police, health workers and social workers) have further defined child abuse according to the categories of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. 

Ensuring that the children you work with are safe

If your community group’s activities or services involve children you will need to ensure that you have done all you can to ensure that those children are protected from harm. Part of this responsibility will involve having secure and robust recruitment procedures in place. 

If your group or organisation has paid staff - or volunteers - working with children or vulnerable adults in what is defined as ‘regulated work’, the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act makes it mandatory for you to be in receipt of an appropriate and valid Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme Record for an individual before they take up their position.  

It is an offence for any group or organisation to employ/contract or hire a person to do ‘regulated work’ of any type from which they are barred. The only way you can check if someone is barred from working with children is through the PVG Scheme. This makes it a mandatory requirement for any group working with children to enroll with the PVG Scheme so that they can access PVG Scheme Records. Community Groups should enroll via the Central Registered Body in Scotland (CRBS) to access Scheme Record disclosures for volunteers free of charge.

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Last Updated 26/07/2012 17:59