Swifter action needed on child protection, expert warns

Posted: 11th September 2023

The author of a government commissioned report into child protection commissioned has expressed disappointment that it has not led to further action.

The study said many children were not being picked up by child protection services despite the fact that they were known to be at risk of abuse.

Last November’s Brock report called for, ‘a spotlight on those children and young people who are currently “on the radar” of children’s services because of neglect or risky behaviour but who are not subject to formal and statutory measures, such as child protection’.

It’s findings were welcomed by ministers last autumn and the then Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Michael Russell, accepted them in full.

But its author, the Chief Executive of Children in Scotland, Jackie Brock, will warn on Wednesday that a summit meeting to be held by the Scottish government in February is not enough and more action is needed.

Ms Brock said: “We hope that this summit is not a one-off and that progress will begin in advance of the summit and continue thereafter.”

The report highlighted the sprawling landscape of national and local strategies that tackle aspects of child neglect. However it questioned the level of investment in preventing harm to vulnerable children and young people.

It made a number of recommendations to help ensure Scotland’s child protection system, and the workforce itself, is properly supported to identify, early on, those children who are at risk and raise the alarm.

Among its conclusions was that there was a need to improve and invest in children’s services, adding “we do not yet seem to be in a position to conclude that the commitment and investment to date has achieved a confident and competent workforce for protecting children.”

Ms Brock pointed out that many of the hundreds of children abused in the Rotherham child abuse scandal were living at home and known to social services, but the authorities failed to act.

“The report warned of an “unease and a lack of confidence” among many of Scotland’s children’s services workers that vulnerable children could be protected if they were to be abused.

Ms Brock will outline her views at a conference to be held in Edinburgh today, ‘Child Protection 2015: Safeguarding From Abuse’.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The safety and wellbeing of children and young people is a priority for the Scottish Government and an issue we take extremely seriously.

“The commissioning of the Jackie Brock report was one of a number of steps to protect our children.

“In the two months since this report was published we have been working hard with our partners to continue strengthening child protection policies, are convening a National Strategic Leadership Summit on Child Wellbeing and taking forward the commitments in the wide ranging national action plan on child sexual exploitation that we published in November to safeguard young people at risk.”

Source: Swifter action needed on child protection, expert warns | The Herald (

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