Child Protection Guidance 2021

Part 4: Specific support needs and concerns 176 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 4.257 If a young person is under sixteen and sexually active, professionals considering overriding the young person’s confidentiality must first consider the circumstances of the specific case, consulting with child protection leads as appropriate. Whilst there is generally a high public interest in keeping sensitive information confidential, confidential information may lawfully be shared, for example, where there is an overriding interest which outweighs the duty of confidentiality. Decisions must be made in relation to this particular child, their needs in context, and the relevant legal basis. Overriding confidentiality must be justified and proportionate, taking into account the nature and probability of risk to the young person and/or others. The child’s wishes and feelings must be heard and taken into account. The reasons for decisions made (for instance in relation to information sharing) must be recorded. Recognition should be given to the particular issues for LGBT young people. Schools should be alert to the fact that some young people may not have told everyone in their lives about their sexual orientation and/ or gender identity, and ‘outing’ them could cause needless distress. If a child protection or wellbeing concern is raised, schools should follow their existing policies. 4.258 Children may express and then retract concerns, depending on what pressures are facing them. Practitioners must seek to keep the door open so that the child knows where they might go to share anxieties or questions. Parental support will in most situations be a crucial part of the picture. When there are interacting concerns about how family circumstances impact on the child’s safety in the wider world, practitioners will take this context into account in contributing to assessment and planning to support safety and wellbeing. Resources and References – Under-age sexual activity Pre-birth assessment and support 4.259 The Preamble to the UNCRC makes it clear all children need safeguarding and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth; and Article 24(2)(d) requires public authorities to ensure appropriate pre-natal and post-natal health care for mothers in the context of access to health care services. In Scotland, all services providing for expectant mothers and babies must have protocols and supervisory structures in place to support equitable, proportionate, effective and timely action to keep mother and baby safe and well. A Pathway to Care for Vulnerable Families (0-3) (Scottish Government 2011) describes standard support expectations. The national approach to maternity and neonatal care is described in ‘The best start: maternity and neonatal care plan executive summary’ . Maternity services for young parents | Turas | Learn ( is a resource informing support for young mothers and fathers. 4.260 All practitioners who work with expectant mothers must be aware of parental behaviour and circumstances that could cause significant harm to an unborn baby. They must be aware of how to refer concerns about potential harm to statutory services; and confident about the lawful basis for information sharing. Child Protection Committees and Chief Officers will ensure frameworks for pre-birth assessment and support for children at risk are in place.