Child Protection Improvement Programme
Child Protection Improvement Programme Update #11
The National Child Protection Leadership Group
The National Child Protection Leadership Group last met on 16 January 2019. Minutes from the October 2018 meeting will be published shortly and will be available on the Scottish Government website.
The Chief Officers Leadership Events (COLEs) subgroup have recommended that the next COLEs should solely be for Chief Officers and the content of the event should be led by Chief Officers, with a focus on peer support where sharing is encouraged. The date of the COLEs will be confirmed shortly.
New Guidance – Protecting Children and Young People: Child Protection Committee and Chief Officer Responsibilities – Published February 2019
New guidance on “ Protecting Children and Young People: Child Protection Committee and Chief Officer Responsibilities” was published in February 2019.
Implementing the Children’s aspects of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015
At this meeting there was a discussion on what the group plans to include in the Annual Progress Report, due for publication in June 2019, as well the group’s priorities for 2019/2020. The Scottish Government is continuing to take forward concerns around the National Referral Mechanism reform with the Home Office.
Child Internet Safety
Work continues to implement the actions of the National Action Plan on Internet Safety for Children and Young People.
Through the Action Plan the Scottish Government remains committed to promoting and raising awareness of Safer Internet Day in Scotland. As part of Safer Internet Day on 5 February 2019, the Minister for Children and Young People visited Newbattle High School in Midlothian and also attended a YoungScot ‘Digiknow’ event in Dundee to launch Digital Schools Award Scotland’s Special Recognition Award.
As part of the Action Plan the Scottish Government continues to support the South West Grid for Learning and the UK Safer Internet Centre in delivering Online Safety Live events across Scotland and events are being planned for October 2019.
The Scottish Government recently announced that we will be producing guidance, specific to Scotland, on the healthy use of social media and screen time. Social media has become part of everyday life and we know there are general links between unhealthy use of social media and lower mental wellbeing in children and young people. A cross-governmental group has been established and covers interests across the Scottish Government including Education, Child Protection and Digital Participation, as well as many others.
Childnet recently launched their annual film competition encouraging schools and young people aged 7-18 to take on the challenge of creating a short film about internet safety to promote internet safety awareness amongst their peers. This year’s theme is ‘Our future online’ with a focus on what we can we all do to make our future internet a great and safe place. The three selected finalists from both the primary and secondary age category will be invited to a private screening at London’s BFI where they will be presented with great prizes for their school or youth organisation to award them for their creative achievements.
On 13 March, National Crime Agency launched Jessie & Friends, a new Thinkuknow education resource which will help keep 4-7 year olds safe from online risks and harm. The resources highlight links to the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence, including Relationships and Sex Education, Health Education and the Computing Curriculum.
All Jessie & Friends education resources are now available to download free at www.thinkuknow.co.uk/professionals/resources/jessie-and-friends, with content for parents and carers at www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/jessie-and-friends
The Scottish Government continues to participate as an executive board member to the UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS) to ensure Scotland effectively contributes towards improving internet safety in Scotland within the UK environment. The Council brings together government, the tech community, academia and charity sectors to ensure the UK is the safest place in the world to be online. It also ensures a collaborative, coordinated approach to addressing the full range of harms, from online harassment and bullying, to criminal activity such as the sharing of child sexual abuse imagery, hate crime and the spread of terrorist materials. Officials will attend the next board in London on 27 March 2019.
Child Sexual Exploitation
The National Child Sexual Exploitation Group met on 25 February 2019 and continues to take forward the actions of the National Action Plan to Prevent and Tackle Child Sexual Exploitation.
The Group is also working on a range of communication activity to promote National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day on 18 March 2019. National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day is an annual campaign that aims to highlight the issues surrounding child sexual exploitation, encouraging everyone to think, spot and speak out against this type of child sexual abuse.
The Scottish Government consultation on proposed changes to Section 12 (“cruelty to children”) of the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 2019 closed on 14 November 2018, with a total of 220 responses received. The Scottish Government will publish consultation analysis and next steps in April 2019.
Expert Group on Preventing Sexual Offending involving children and young people
The Expert Group on Preventing Sexual Offending involving Children and Young People has been meeting since January 2018. The Group is chaired by Catherine Dyer, former Crown Agent, and comprises a number of public and third sector organisations involved in education, health and justice, and members hold a wide range of views. The Group’s remit is to identify fresh actions to prevent harmful sexual behavior and sexual crime involving children and young people, both for those children and young people who cause harm, and for those who have been caused harm, and to better mitigate the effects it causes. The Group met on 6 March 2019 for the last time and we anticipate that they will report to Scottish Ministers with recommendations in due course.