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:

Child Protection Guidance
  • National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2014: Provides a framework for agencies and practitioners at local level to agree processes for working together to safeguard and promote child wellbeing.
  • Child Protection Procedures in Aberdeen City: This policy is to ensure that all Children’s Social Work staff involved in the protection of vulnerable children are aware of their roles and responsibilities and the procedures to follow when we receive information which indicates a child’s care and wellbeing may be compromised to the extent that specialist social work intervention may be required. It is also necessary for our partner agencies to be clear about their roles and responsibilities for any ongoing support for children who are deemed to be at risk of significant harm and those for whom these risks have been mitigated but still require ongoing support. Please use a meeting sign-in sheet at any multi-agency meetings. .
  • Eligibility Criteria for Children’s Social Work Services: This document provides guidance for professionals, to clarify the circumstances in which the Children’s Social Work service will assist and safeguard children, young people and their families in Aberdeen City. These eligibility criteria set out how the service will respond to different levels of need and the basis for decisions about service provision.
  • Understanding Thresholds


Alcohol and Drugs
  • Getting our Priorities Right 2013: The purpose of the guidance is to provide an updated good practice framework for all child and adult service practitioners working with vulnerable children and families affected by problematic parental alcohol and/or drug use.
  • Multi-Agency Practice Guidance - Getting our Priorities Right: This Practitioner’s Toolkit has been developed by Aberdeen City Child Protection Committee (CPC).
  • 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.
  • 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 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 new psychoactive substances (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


Management of Bruising in Children

Useful information is contained in NHS Grampian's Guidance on Management of Bruising in Children.


Child Protection and Children with Disabilities

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.


Child Protection and the Unborn Child

Working with Vulnerable Unborn Babies and their Families: This multi-agency guidance has been produced by the Aberdeen City Child Protection Committee and reflects the Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) National Practice Model approach to delivering services to children, young people and their families.


Child Sexual Exploitation



Disguised Compliance and Non-engaging Families

Working with Non-Engaging Families Multi-Agency Practice Guidance: This guidance has been produced by the Aberdeen City Child Protection Committee (CPC) to assist staff within all its member agencies when faced with non-engaging families.


Domestic Abuse
  • 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.
  • Equally Safe Bulletin August 2018
  • 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.
  • Sex Offender Community Disclosure Scheme Briefing Note


Female Genital Mutilation
  • 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: FGM Multi Agency Guidance November 2017
  • Statement from Scottish Government: The Scottish Government has released a statement on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  • Resources: In collaboration with the Scottish Government, the Women's Support Project has developed a range of information materials on FGM. These materials, which can be accessed at Female Genital Mutilation Aware - Resources, 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; and
    • 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.


Forced Marriage
  • 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.
  • Legislation: 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:


Child Trafficking

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.

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.


Information Sharing

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.

Information Sharing Guidance for Practitioners

In order to ensure consistent practice; partner agencies across Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Moray Council, Police Scotland and NHS Grampian have co-produced this information-sharing guidance. It is aimed at all practitioners and managers working with children, young people, and families, within the Public, Private and Third Sector (including Adult Services).

This guidance is aligned with current information-sharing legislation, and aims to empower practitioners to share information confidently, and in a way which respects the rights of children and their families. This guidance reflects General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) implemented on 25 May 2018, and will be updated to include any requirements from the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill in due course.

This interim guidance provides overarching best practice principles when you are considering information-sharing, and sits alongside other agency-specific guidance.


Missing Children



The Child Protection Committee has developed multi-agency guidance in relation to neglect.


One Page Guides


Risk Assessment


Self Harm


Sexually Active Young People


Significant case reviews


Related Links