Child Protection Guidance 2021

Part 4: Specific support needs and concerns 211 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 4.480 Increased parental stress is a natural feature for the parent who remains at home. Many service parents are very young when faced with these pressures and can feel isolated, despite a supportive service structure and community. As in some other community and institutional settings, it is possible for problems to remain hidden until a point of crisis. 4.481 When a child protection concern arises, generic processes apply as outlined in Part 3. However, there is an additional need to ensure teamwork between the relevant service welfare service liaison and the lead professional in statutory services. Resources and References – Defence Community Child protection in the context of disasters and public emergencies 4.482 Meaning. ‘Child protection in disasters and emergencies’ encompasses the prevention of and responses to abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence against children in times of emergency, whether caused by natural or man-made disasters, conflicts, or other exceptional crises that threaten to overwhelm essential structures. The current COVID-19 pandemic has been a public emergency. Child protection in this context must address all forms of physical and psychological abuse, sexual and gender-based violence, armed conflict, and deprivation of basic needs. 4.483 Relevance. Child protection following disasters is a matter of ethical and practical relevance in prevention, preparation, emergency responses and provision of subsequent assessments, planning, and diverse forms of support for children. For example: • disasters in various forms have occurred in recent memory in Scotland due to terrorism (Lockerbie and Glasgow airport), mass shooting of children (Dunblane), and industrial disasters (Piper Alpha) • we have children reaching the UK or seeking to do so, who have become more vulnerable when they and their families have had to leave their homes to seek sanctuary overseas due to disasters. Children and their families experience unanticipated loss and separation, trauma, exhaustion and confusion. They face multi-dimensional risks and insecurities during these transitions, but also have skills and strengths that those intervening should extend and support (The section above on unaccompanied and trafficked children may be relevant in this context.) • a minority of those providing aid and others targeting ‘lone’ children in disaster contexts may behave abusively • beyond immediate impact, the process of adjustment to disasters may be an invisible, long-term and cyclical process for children, families, practitioners and volunteers, becoming an ingredient in other crises and vulnerabilities • strengthening children’s (families’, kin’s and communities’) capacities to cope with future disasters is a critical preventative function for protecting children 4.484 Legal basis for response to national disasters. Emergency legislation may be necessary in response to public emergencies, as has been the case during the COVID-19 pandemic. In relation to events of national impact in Scotland, the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (Contingency Planning) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (as amended) outline the immediate responsibilities of key organisations and their duty to prepare for civil emergencies within Scotland. The balance of activity and interaction between Scottish Ministers and the UK Government will depend on the nature of the incident.