Child Protection Improvement Programme
Child Protection Improvement Programme – Update #5
Following meetings held on 16 March 2017 by the Child Protection Improvement Programme (CPIP) External Advisory Group and the Systems Review Group, significant progress is being made to take forward the recommendations accepted by Scottish Ministers.
This includes the publication of a guide for health practitioners in Scotland on Child Sexual Exploitation, which outlines their role and responsibilities in identifying and responding to a child or young person who may be at risk or affected by sexual exploitation. The guidance expands on information on child sexual exploitation contained within existing National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland, 2014 and encourages a response in line with local Child or Adult Protection processes.
In April the Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald MSP launched the publication of the National Action Plan on Internet Safety for Children and Young People, to help children and young people develop the skills they need to stay safe on the internet and support parents and carers to be more aware of the potential risks that their children face online. In a press release the Minister said: “Children and young people are spending longer online than ever before. Many own a tablet or smartphone and almost three quarters of 12-15 year olds now have a social media profile. While the internet and mobile technology have positively transformed our lives, I am concerned too many children and young people are being put at risk from online harm and abuse. We all have a responsibility to protect children and young people and this updated plan sets out a number of actions to improve internet safety. Its priorities include equipping children and young people themselves to stay safe online, supporting professionals, parents and carers and continuing to work with digital and social media providers to ensure children are not exposed to harm.”
This was followed by a Parliamentary debate on 11 May on keeping children safe online where the Minister emphasised the Scottish Government’s commitment to help children and young people equip themselves to stay safe online and that we need to ensure that all children and young people are fully armed with the knowledge of their rights and the skills that they need to use the internet safely.
Also in May The Scottish Government’s Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy was published to better identify victims and support them to safety and recovery, identify perpetrators and disrupt their activity and address the conditions that foster trafficking and exploitation. In a press release the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson said “Developing the Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy has included listening to victims themselves, who have provided a unique insight into the physical and psychological damage caused by trafficking. We have emphasised the need to let people know that there is support available for victims, wherever they are recovered in Scotland”.
The first meeting of the National Child Protection Leadership Group was held on 22 June chaired by Mark McDonald MSP, Minister for Childcare and Early Years. The Group will meet four times a year and members will demonstrate personal and collaborative leadership for the sector, taking shared responsibility for tackling challenging issues and implementing change. They will bring their knowledge and expertise to inform work on child protection, identify any risks and issues which impact on the delivery of actions and act as advocates for improvements by influencing change in their own organisations and beyond.
A link to full membership of the Leadership Group and the minute of the first meeting will be available soon.
A short-life working group has been established, chaired by the Care Inspectorate, to develop a revised framework for inspections of children’s services. The group last met on 8 May and the focus of the meeting was the final agreement and clarification of any actions required, in preparation for the submission of the proposal to Ministers.
Further updates will follow and will also be provided through stakeholder channels.