What do we mean by child protection?
All children and young people have the right to be protected and kept safe from harm. Sometimes, children and young people are harmed by adults or other young people who they know and trust. Sometimes, but much more rarely, children and young people can be harmed by strangers. All adults have a responsibility to help protect children and young people. When we talk about something being a child protection issue, we mean that we have information that makes us think the child or young person is at risk and that it is necessary to help them. When we talk about being at risk it means from physical or sexual abuse or anything that puts a young person or child in danger.
When a young person speaks to someone in the health service that consultation is confidential; that means that no one else can be told without that child or young person's permission. This includes parents and carers. This changes if the child or young person tells someone that they, another child or young person are being abused in any way. Information may also be shared in some cases where a child or young person is an immediate risk to themselves. In Tayside professionals must pass that information on so the situation can be investigated and the child or young person can get the help they need.
What happens next?
When services are notified about a child protection situation there is usually an investigation by police and social work. The police officer and social worker will come and talk to the child or young person and anyone else who may be involved. The police and social workers who do this work are specially trained for this work and are there to help. They are not in uniform. They will interview the young person in the best place for that young person. The young person can have a trusted adult with them.
Every case is different
The situation will be risk assessed this means that police and social work will decide if there is an immediate risk to the child or young person and other members of the family. Everything is done to protect the child and young person and to work with families so they can stay together and be safer. Depending on the outcome of the assessment a decision will be made about how best to help the child or young person. The adults working with the child or young person have a duty to keep them informed and explain about any further meetings.
In rare cases part of the investigation may be a medical examination. If this happens the child or young person has the right to refuse having a medical examination.
Who to talk to
Remember that if a child or young person is being abused in any way, or is at risk from harm, it is not their fault. There are services out there to protect all children and young people. If a child or young person is worried they should talk to a trusted adult; this might be a school nurse, a teacher, GP, a youth worker or local young people's service. They all help children and young people get the support they need locally. Throughout Scotland, people can call the confidential free phone number to speak to a trained operator. Child Protection Line 0800 022 3222 Depending on the nature of the call, the operator will either: Transfer the caller to the most relevant agency, or Provide details of who the caller should speak to next
Other useful numbers and websites
Confidentiality & Cool2Talk
This website is confidential and anonymous because we do not ask for personal information that identifies you. We generally do not have any information about who uses the site so we cannot trace them. Often this is why children and young people who are in dangerous situations write in to us. They feel safe to discuss the matter until they have the confidence and information they need to take the matter further. However if you give us information that identifies you, and if you or someone else is at risk of harm, we may have to share this information with other relevant professionals in order to keep you safe.
In situations where we are concerned about immediate danger to you, or another young person, we may have to contact the police and give them an IP address. This means that you may be able to be traced back to your device. We would only do this if there was real concern for your immediate safety. This has only happened 3 times in the ten years the site has been running.