Child Protection Guidance 2021

Part 3: Identifying and responding to concerns about children 89 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 Professional judgement about risk of significant harm 3.6 Professional judgement is needed about the severity and immediacy of the risk of harm. This will be reviewed as relevant information is shared. There is no statutory definition or uniform defining criteria for significant harm. Significant harm refers to serious interruption, change or damage to a child’s physical, emotional, intellectual or behavioural health and development. 3.7 To understand and identify significant harm, it is necessary to consider: • the child’s experience, needs and feelings as far as they are known. When a child talks about maltreatment, this may prompt a request for IRD. The child’s disclosure is not a pre-requisite • the child’s development in context, including additional needs such as a medical condition, communication impairment or disability, that may affect the child’s health, wellbeing, vulnerability and care needs • what has happened, meaning the nature and degree of the actual or likely harm, in terms of abuse or failures to provide care and protection • parental or carer responses to concern as far as they are known • past occurrence, frequency or patterns in the occurrence of harm • immediate risk of harm and cause of this risk • impact/potential impact on the child’s health and development • degree of professional confidence in the information that either the abuse has occurred and is likely to be repeated, or that the child is at risk of harm • capacity of the parents or carers to protect and care for the child • the context of risk within the child’s culture, family network and wider world • interaction between known risks and known strengths, complicating or protective factors in the child’s world • the presence of premeditation, threat, coercion or sadism • the probability of recurrence or persistence of harm or risk of harm