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For Parents And Carers

Calling all parents and carers.

For Parents and CarersThe biggest influence on your child is you. It is your responsibility to bring up your child safely.

All parents can do with a bit of extra help sometimes, whether that is Mum's advice on bathing baby, or Grandad's help in looking after the children after school. Not everyone has all the help they need available locally in their family. They may need to use a registered child-minder or other resource.

Some families need extra help. A child with a disability can be particularly challenging. You are entitled to an assessment of their needs. Some parents have problems of their own which mean they might need extra help to make sure their children don't lose out. This could be a learning disability, a mental health issue or a problem with the use of alcohol or drugs.

See the GIRFEC website for more information.

Some children will be at risk of significant harm if agencies do not step in to protect them.

Agencies always try to work with parents wherever possible, but where necessary they can take legal action where a child is at risk of significant harm.

Some basic information about the law on parenting in Scotland is in this leaflet [pdf, 74Kb]. It was designed to meet the needs of families new to Scotland and is available locally in a number of different languages. We can provide information in other languages when necessary.

Shetland Family Information Directory - Information on services and sources of support for families living and working in Shetland.

What happens if someone has reported a concern about my child?

A professional may contact you to ask you to help them set up any extra help your child may need. More information is at www.shetland.gov.uk/children_and_families/GIRFEC.asp

If there are child protection concerns, it is likely that a social worker will visit you to discuss the position. Your social worker will explain to you what will happen next, and should give you a leaflet with their contact details so that you know whom to ring if you have any questions. Examples are shown below. There may be a meeting to discuss your child's situation and make sure they are safe. This is called a child protection case conference. Parents are almost always invited and entitled to see the written 'reports' ? that professionals take to the conference. You can usually take someone with you to help you tell your point of view - just check with the person who asked you to the meeting. You can write your own report if you wish.

More information is in the leaflets below. The detailed procedures that professionals use are in the updated August 2015 Shetland inter-agency Child Protection Procedures [pdf, 2734Kb]


If you are asked to attend a Children's Hearing the Reporter will send you more information. You might also want to have a look at this website, where there is a section for parents and carers: www.scra.gov.uk/home

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What can I do to keep my children safe from harm?

Risk is a part of everyday life. Minor stumbles and scrapes are a part of growing up. It's important that children take part in activities and are able to play outside. But you remain responsible for their welfare. You will want to make sure the risks have been considered and are reasonable. Generally speaking you should know where your child is and with whom. For information to help you assure yourself that organised groups that your child takes part in are well managed and keep your child safe.



You may also find the following websites helpful, subject to the disclaimer at the bottom of the page.

Here are some organisations that can help:

For confidential advice on a range of parenting issues, ring ParentLine Scotland Tel: 0808 800 2222

If you have personal issues that might affect your children, get help - not just for you, but for your children too. You may need help to come to terms with issues that affect you, or have affected you in the past, in order to be the best parent you can be. Here are some examples of the help that is available.

Childline - Zipit App

Recognising the growing problem of online safety, ChildLine launched its first ever mobile phone app called Zipit, which can be downloaded from the ChildLine website www.childline.org.uk/zipit as well as all major app stores.  Zipit offers young people funny images they can use as a response to requests for naked or explicit pictures.  It has already received over 60,000 downloads.

(Taken from Childline Review Under Pressure Annual Report 2013/2014, page 45) - http://www.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/annual-reports/childline-review-under-pressure.pdf

Domestic Abuse is bad for children, whether they are in the same room or not. As many as 1 in 5 women in Scotland, and some men, will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. The issue affects children and young people too. If you need to talk to someone about this you could call the Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline FREE on 0800 027 1234 or visit their website at: www.domesticabuse.co.uk

Locally, Shetland Women's Aid provides counselling, support, advice and information for women (all ages) and children and young people (up to age 18) who have experienced, or are experiencing, physical, emotional or sexual abuse. http://www.communitydirectory.shetland.gov.uk/shetland-womens-aid-i854.html .

Men experiencing domestic abuse whether from a woman or same sex partner can get more information at www.mensadviceline.org.uk/mens_advice.php

The Respect Helpline offers information and advice to people (male or female) who are abusive towards their partners and want help to stop.

You can ring them on 0845 122 8609 Monday - Friday 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm or e-mail info@respectphoneline.org.uk

(Respect is the UK membership association for domestic violence perpetrator programmes and associated support services. www.respect.uk.net/)

If Substance Misuse affects your life, whether your own, a partner's or a child's, it is likely to be affecting the whole family.

Community Alcohol and Drugs Services Shetland can offer help and support to anyone affected by these issues. Contact details are at


A child who is undertaking caring responsibilities for you, your partner or for brothers or sisters, whether because of disability, substance issues, mental health problems or for some other reason is a Young Carer and is entitled to have their own support needs assessed through the GIRFEC process. Shetland Young Carers Group meets regularly to offer support to such young people. For further information please call Jo Jack on 01595 743923.

If you are experiencing Relationship Problems, counselling for couples and individuals is available through Relationships Scotland Couple Counseling Shetland. www.communitydirectory.shetland.gov.uk/relationships-scotland-couple-counselling-shetland-i347.html

When parents separate, it's often not so much the separation itself but on-going arguments between their parents over issues such as contact that affect children most. Family Mediation Shetland can help parents focus on the needs of their children and make decisions together about these arrangements www.communitydirectory.shetland.gov.uk/family-mediation-shetland-i877.html

If you have experienced Bereavement, counselling support may be available through the Shetland Bereavement Support Service www.communitydirectory.shetland.gov.uk/shetland-bereavement-support-service-i371.html

If your life is affected by Sexual Abuse, support is available in Shetland through Sexual Abuse Survivors. See www.communitydirectory.shetland.gov.uk/sexual-abuse-survivors-i974.html

Men and women can also get support through the Rape and Abuse Line.

More information on how a package of help could be arranged for you and your children if your family is affected by any of these or any other issues through 'Getting it Right for Every Child' is at http://www.shetland.gov.uk/children_and_families/GIRFEC.asp

Building Financial skills for children - Information leaflet to help

Child Sexual Exploitation

In February 2016 the Scottish Government has started an awareness raising campaign for Parents to let them know about the risks of Child Sexual Exploitation.  Shetland Child Protection Committee will also be sharing information about this please look out for posters and leaflets.

Here is a link to the Scottish Government's TV advertising campaign and a link to the Scottish Government's website with further information specifically for parents.  Remember if you are worried that a child or young person may be at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation you can always phone Duty Social Work for help on 01595 74 4400.

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Scottish Government Communication - Manchester Incident - Reassuring our Children and Young People

Following the recent distressing incident in Manchester, Shetland Child Protection Committee wanted to share some advice and support put out by NHS Scotland about coping with stress as it is recognised that parents and young people in Shetland will have been affected by these events. Please find listed below links to resources which may assist and provide help and support to our young people who may require assistance in coming to terms with the impact of yesterday’s tragic events.

Young Scot –providing guidance and advice to young people feeling worried or concerned about events currently happening around the world-http://young.scot/current-events

Children 1st – Parentline - 08000 28 22 33 -  https://www.children1st.org.uk/what-we-do/how-we-help/parentline-scotland/

NSPCC – Talking about difficult topics -  https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/talking-about-difficult-topics/

Childline – Worried about the World - https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/your-feelings/anxiety-stress-panic/worries-about-the-world/?utm_source=twitter_nspcc&utm_medium=nspccsocialmedia&utm_campaign=owntwitter_tweet

Information Leaflet - Coping with Stress - February 2017

Information Leaflet - Coping with Stress - Additional Information to assist with Children


On this website we have included links to a number of websites based elsewhere in the UK. They contain a lot of useful information, not all of which is as readily available in Scotland. Although the general advice given is likely to be the same across the UK, websites based in England, Wales and Northern Ireland may refer to the law, institutions and practice guidance in place in those jurisdictions, which are different from those in force in Scotland. For more information about those aspects in Scotland, please refer to Scottish-based organisations, or seek further support locally.

It is everyone’s job to make sure children and young people are alright. If you are concerned about a child’s welfare please tell someone who can help.

These are the phone numbers:

Duty Social Work
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm:
01595 744421

Outside office hours:
01595 695611

Police: 101

Children’s Reporter:
0131 244 3780