Child Protection Guidance 2021

Part 3: Identifying and responding to concerns about children 90 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 Practice points relevant at any time 3.8 Where a child is felt to be in immediate danger, any practitioner should report, without delay, directly to the police. Similarly, where a child is thought to require immediate medical assistance, this should be sought as a matter of urgency from the relevant health services. 3.9 Where the risk is of harm is significant and immediate , the focus of risk assessment is about what needs to happen to keep the child safe right now. Inter-agency discussion out of hours may be essential. The need to gather information must always be balanced against the need to take any immediate protective action. Social work services and police must decide whether any immediate action should be taken to protect the child and any others in the family or the wider community. 3.10 Other children affected. Where a child is at risk of harm from neglect, abuse or exploitation, consideration should always be given to the needs and potential risks to other children in the same household or family network, and to children who are likely to become members of the same household or family network. 3.11 Risk assessment is not static. The interaction of factors can shift, and risk of harm can become more or less severe. The risk of harm from on-going concerns may become increasingly apparent. Similarly, protective factors in the family and the child’s wider world may change or could be brought to bear on the situation in a way that reduces risk of harm. The process of identifying and managing risk must therefore also be dynamic and responsive, taking account of both current circumstances and previous experiences. Immediate and long-term needs and risks should both be considered. 3.12 Referral to the Principal Reporter is an option at any stage if it is likely that the child is in need of protection, guidance, treatment or control, and that a Compulsory Supervision Order might be necessary. The grounds for a hearing are that the Principal Reporter, following investigation, is satisfied that one of the conditions in s67(2) of the 2011 Act exists and that it is necessary for a Compulsory Supervision Order be made for the child (or an existing order be reviewed) (Guidance on referral to Reporter) . Contact can be made with local SCRA Reporter Offices at any stage for advice relating to referrals. Guidance for Children’s Panel Members is also available from Children’s Hearings Scotland. 3.13 Proportionate response. Many concerns raised over a child’s wellbeing will not need a child protection investigation. A co‑ordinated response may still be necessary. The GIRFEC principles and practice model apply. 3.14 When urgent, short-term decisions are needed, practitioners should always keep in mind the long-term emotional security of each child in support and planning with children and their families.