Child Protection

A Shared Responsibility

‘It’s everyone’s job to make sure I’m alright’, published by the Scottish Executive in 2002, stressed that child protection is everyone’s responsibility.  ‘Everyone’ means just that - a shared responsibility between communities, voluntary organisations and statutory services.

It is sometimes the case that children at risk of serious harm do not come to the attention of the agencies that can help until matters reach a point where compulsory measures may be needed to protect them. Wouldn’t it be so much better if we could identify vulnerable children and intervene early enough to prevent them from experiencing serious harm.

There are many types of harm, including: neglect of the child’s physical, developmental or emotional needs; physical or sexual abuse; living with chaotic drug/alcohol users, with domestic violence or in other high risk situations.
If you are worried that a child may be at risk of serious harm, please make early contact with a professional to discuss your concerns. This will help professionals to build up a picture of the needs of vulnerable children and their families, and to offer appropriate, early interventions and support to address these.

You can discuss your concerns with any one of a range of professionals including:

  • NHS staff - e.g. GP, health visitor, school nurse
  • Education staff - e.g. teachers, nursery staff, children’s support workers
  • Police
  • Social Workers

Alternatively you can report any concerns by phoning 01463 703488.  Please note this number is for reporting concerns only.  General enquiries should be directed to  Outwith normal business hours the 24 Hour Emergency number for Social Work is 0845 601 4813.

Where a child is at immediate risk of serious harm contact the Police or your local Social Work Office.

Kerelaw Inquiry

The Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council commissioned an independent Inquiry into the circumstances in which abuse occurred at the former Kerelaw residential school and secure unit in Ayrshire, which was shut down in 2006.  A link to the report can also be found in the external links to the right.


HandsOnScotland is an online resource for anybody working with or caring for children and young people. The website provides practical information and techniques on how to respond helpfully to children and young people's troubling behaviour and offers advice and activities on how to help them flourish.  For more information please visit the web site at The website was commissioned by the Scottish Government through Heads up Scotland and was developed by Playfield Institute (NHS Fife) in partnership with Barnardo's and the University of Dundee.