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For Professionals

In This Section...

In this section

For ProfessionalsAll professionals working with children and young people or with their parents or carers must consider the needs of and risks to those children.

It does not matter if you provide services to adults which childcare responsibilities or directly to children and young people. It does not matter if you are employed by one of the helping agencies or provide invaluable voluntary support, it is everyone’s job to make sure children are safe. The National Guidance on Child Protection in Scotland and Shetland Interagency Child Protection Procedures make it clear that this is a shared responsibility.

Shetland Interagency Child Protection Procedures ask that everyone follows the 4 R’s:

  • Recognise that a child is at risk
  • Responds
  • Report/refer
  • Record

When they become aware that a child or young person may be at risk of harm or neglect or if an adults own difficulties are impacting on their ability to provide safe care. Everyone should be aware of Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) approach in Shetland to the provision of support to children in need who are not at risk. For more information go to http://www.shetland.gov.uk/children_and_families/GIRFEC.asp

Everyone working with children and adults should have a basic understanding of child protection and training is available for everyone https://www.safershetland.com/for-professionals#training

Wallet cards are available and a supply can be provided by contact the Lead Officer.

Basic information about what and how to refer is in the leaflet “What you can do to help if you are worried about a child or young person”.

OPEN Peer Mentoring Project

Our Peer Education Network (OPEN) is a peer education project, which recruits and trains young people aged 16 - 25 to become "peer educators".  OPEN's main purpose is to embed peer education across Shetland as a methodology of raising awareness and encourage positive lifestyle choices - especially on issues concering substance misuse, relationships, sexual health, and mental health; whilst promoting harm reduction at every opportunity.

For more information and to make referrals to the project contact Una.Murray@shetland.org

OPEN Peer Mentoring Project - Recruitment and Referral Information.

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Child Protection Referrals

To make a child protection referral, follow the procedure in the Shetland inter-agency Child Protection Procedures. This provides for a telephone referral followed up with a form sent to Duty social work, which is generally also copied to a central collation point in each agency. Please refer to the Procedures for further details.

If you want to complete the referral form electronically it can be downloaded from this website. Duty Intake Referral Form for Child Protection Referrals  The form should be completed and printed off, signed and sent to social work to follow up your telephone referral. Please do NOT e-mail it unless you are sure you have a secure link and have been specifically requested to do so. Even then you should also submit a hard copy, to ensure it receives appropriate management oversight.

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Child Protection Training

For ProfessionalsGood inter-agency work is vital in keeping children safe.

Shetland CPC runs a range of courses for staff and volunteers working at all levels.

Participants especially value the inter-agency courses - training together aids working together.

Even if you have done child protection training elsewhere, these courses will place your knowledge in the local context and you may bring good practice from elsewhere to share with others. See below for the support and training available and the Training Strategy agreed by all agencies at CPC.


For more information on any of the above courses please contact SIC Workforce Development Team on Tel: 01595 743920 email: Workforce.DevelopmentTeam@shetland.gov.uk

The compilations attached above draw on a number of sources for which we are grateful, including the NSPCC Library & Information Service's CASPAR Email alerts. To sign up to get this info direct, go to https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/newsletter/caspar/.

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I have been asked to attend a Child Protection Case Conference. What does that involve?

You should attend if you possibly can. Social Workers will prepare a report that include information from all agencies working with the child and family and professionals will be asked to share information with the social worker for inclusion in the report. The information share still belongs to the agency that shared it and if at all possible staff should ensure that parents attending case conferences should be made aware of what information is being shared.  Careful consideration will have been given to inviting you, but if you think someone else in your organisation would be better placed to provide information, please discuss this with the conference Chair in good time.

More detailed information about Child Protection Case Conferences is in Section 10 of the updated May 2019  Shetland inter-agency Child Protection Procedures You will find pro-formas for reports in Section 13 - Forms and Leaflets. It is important to include the child's own view of their situation as well as your professional view of their best interests.

Further information on your role is in the leaflet: Information for professionals invited to Child Protection Case Conferences [pdf, 56Kb]. You should have received a hard copy of this with your invitation. Please take time to consider it, especially if you have not attended a Child Protection Case Conference very often.


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I have been asked to prepare a report for the Children's Reporter.
I have been asked to attend a Children's Hearing.
What does that involve?

Anyone concerned about a child can tell the Children's Reporter about their concerns, and a Child Protection Case Conference may decide to make a referral to the Children's Reporter. If the Reporter thinks the child may need what are called 'compulsory measures' such as a compulsory supervision order then he/she will arrange a Children's Hearing. You may be asked for information or to prepare a report to help the Reporter decide what to do. If there is no need for compulsory intervention, the Reporter could ask the local authority to provide voluntary advice and assistance.

A Children's Hearing is a legal meeting arranged to consider and make decisions about children and young people who are having problems in their lives. Generally the child or young person and their parents and carers attend, together with a social worker and sometimes other people involved with the child or young person such as a teacher. The Reporter will have asked the social worker for a written report. Three Children's Panel members consider all the information and discuss the case with the people who have been asked to the Hearing. They decide if the child or young person needs legal steps to be taken to help them, and what those should be. The Children's Panel members are trained volunteers. The Children's Reporter attends the Hearing to support fair process.

For more information about Children's Hearings go to: www.scra.gov.uk/home

Child Sexual Exploitation

The Scottish Government has a national plan for tackling CSE and the Digital Safety Committee has responsibility for the local Shetland Plan.

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse in which a person(s), of any age takes advantage of a power imbalance to force or entice a child into engaging in sexual activity in return for something received by the child and/or those perpetrating or facilitating the abuse. As with other forms of child sexual abuse, the presence of perceived consent does not undermine the abusive nature of the act. (Scottish Government Definition 2016)

CSE is a form of sexual abuse and anyone who has concerns that a child or young person is being exploited in such a way should make a child protection referral immediately.

Additional Information

Guide for all practitioners and professionals  - https://www.gov.scot/publications/child-sexual-exploitation-definition-practitioner-briefing-paper/


NSPCC Inform - https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/research-resources/?topic=4576&page=2

Scottish Government TV Advertising - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdTjumU6dHg

The Upstream Project was set up to enable adults and communities in Scotland prevent child sexual abuse. We believe that preventing child sexual abuse is all our responsibility and this depends on changing the thinking and behaviour of adults. For more information visit - 

It can be accessed via https://www.theupstreamproject.org.uk/   If you would like to know more about Upstream please contact us on scotland@stopitnow.org.uk 


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 744000

Outside office hours:
01595 695611

Police: 101

Children’s Reporter:
0131 244 3780