child protection and children at risk
Sometimes children and young people suffer harm as a result of the behaviour of their parents, carers, or others in a position of authority or trust. This can be deliberate but more often it is because parents or carers have their own problems, and are not coping as well as they would like. They need help before things get worse.
We all have a responsibility to look out for children and make sure they and their families get the help they need. It is not your responsibility to decide what help is needed, but it is your responsibility to pass on your concerns to those whose duty it is to help. Anyone with concerns that a child or young person may be suffering from any form of child abuse, maltreatment, or neglect, should ring the Social Care Service where trained social workers will decide, after discussion with other relevant agencies, what sort of help is needed.
Anyone can make a referral to the Children's Reporter who will make enquiries and decide whether to call a Children's Hearing.
In cases where the child or young person is at immediate risk, there may be a need for a child to be moved to a safe place, but more often help can be provided at home. Parents may need help to cope better. A number of agencies can help with this, including the health service, social care and voluntary groups; this will be coordinated through Social Care.
Here are the numbers to ring. You may be able to be more help if you give your name, but you can ring anonymously if you have to.
- Duty Social Worker - office hours - 01595 744421
- Emergency Social Worker - out of hours - 01595 695611
- Police - 01595 692110 (in an emergency, dial 999)
- Children's Reporter - 0300 200 2200
Shetland Child Protection Committee has representation from the main agencies involved with the provision of services to children. They have drawn up the Shetland Inter-Agency Child Protection procedures, available from www.safershetland.com/child-protection. These procedures have been agreed by Shetland Islands Council, NHS Shetland and the Northern Constabulary, amongst others. Other organisations such as voluntary groups are encouraged to adopt policies that are consistent with these procedures. The Shetland Inter-Agency Child Protection procedures give more information on the way child protection concerns are handled in Shetland, and detail the action expected from the statutory agencies.
As one young person said to the national child protection audit team:
"It's everyone's job to make sure I'm alright"
Further information on safeguarding children for voluntary and community groups is available at:
Further information on Shetland Child Protection Committee is available at:
There is a Children's Rights Officer available in the voluntary sector who can offer independent support and advice to children and young people. Tel: 01595 745073 or 07954345262