This is a glossary of Child Protection terms.

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Assessment of need - Evaluation of the child and family identifying areas of need, which may require additional support.

Assessment of Risk - Evaluation of possibility of child abuse occurring in the future.


Case Discussion (general concerns) - A case discussion is an inter agency meeting to share information and identify needs of the child (and family), and agree a plan of action to meet these needs.

Child - For the purpose of child protection procedures a child is defined as a young person under the age of 16 years or between 16-18 if he/she is the subject of a supervision requirement imposed by a Children's Panel. Young people over 16 who are vulnerable or have additional support needs could also be considered under these procedures.

Child Abuse - Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent, significant harm to the child.  Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. Assessments will need to consider whether abuse has occurred or is likely to occur. To define an act of omission as abusive and/or presenting future risk a number of elements can be taken into account. These include demonstrable or predictable harm to the child that would have been avoidable except for the action or inaction by the parent(s) or other carers.

Child Assessment Order - A Child Assessment Order allows for a child to undergo a medical examination or assessment where this has been deemed necessary.  This does not supersede the child's rights under the Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991.  At all times the child's welfare is paramount.

Child Protection Case Discussion -  A Child Protection Case Discussion is an inter-agency meeting to share information where there are child protection concerns which need further clarification.  Strengths within the family and the family's capacity to co-operate with agencies should be discussed. Any support required should also be identified and a plan of intervention should be agreed which could include organising a Initial Child Protection Conference.

Child Protection Order - A Child Protection Order may be granted on application to a Sheriff if conditions for making such an order exist.  A Child Protection Order can allow for the removal of a child to a place of safety or prevent removal of a child from their home or any other safe place. A Child Protection Order can last up to six days and is granted to secure the safety and wellbeing of a child.

Child Protection Plan - Agreed inter-agency plan outlining in detail the arrangements to ensure the protection of the child and supports to the family.

Child Protection Register - A formal list of named children where there are concerns about the possibility of future abuse and where a child protection plan has been agreed.

Child Trafficking - This is the term given to the movement of children into and within the country with the intent to exploit them.

Core Group Meeting - Meeting of small group of inter-agency staff with key involvement with the child and family who meet (with child and family) to review progress and make arrangements for implementing the child protection plan.

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Emergency Police Powers - The Police have the power to remove a child to a place of safety for up to 24 hours where the conditions for making an application for a Child Protection Order exist.

Emotional Abuse - Emotional abuse is persistent emotional neglect or ill treatment that has severe and persistent adverse effects on a child's emotional development.  It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued only in so far as they meet th needs of another person. It may involve the imposition of age or developmentally inappropriate expectations on a child. It may involve causing children to fee frightened or in danger, or exploiting or corrupting children. Some level of emotional abuse is present in all types of ill treatment of a child; it can also occur independently of other forms of abuse.

Exclusion Order - An Exclusion Order allows for a named person to be ejected or prevented from entering the child's home. Conditions can also be attached to secure the child's safety and well being.


Initial Child Protection Conference - An inter-agency meeting to consider the safety and welfare of children who have been the subject of a child protection investigation. The meeting will consider whether the child is a risk of significant harm, and place their name on the child protection register.  It will also create a child's protection plan.  The parents and sometimes the child will also attend this meeting.

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Joint Investigative Interview - A Joint Investigative Interview is a formal planned interview with a child.  It is carried out by staff trained specifically to conduct this type of interview.  The purpose is to obtain the child's account of events, (if any) which require investigation.


Non-organic Failure to Thrive - Children who significantly fail to reach normal growth and development milestones (i.e. physical growth, weight, motor, social and intellectual development) where physical and genetic reasons have been medically eliminated and a diagnosis of non-organic failure to thrive has been established.


Physical Abuse- Physical abuse is causing physical harm to a child or a young person. Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocating.  Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes, ill health to a child they are looking after.

Physical Neglect - Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child's basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child's health or development.  It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.  It may also include neglect of, or failure to respond to, a child's basic emotional needs.  Neglect may also result in the child being diagnosed as suffering from 'no organic failure to thrive', where they have significantly failed to reach normal weight and growth or development milestones and where physical and genetic reasons have been medically eliminated.  In its extreme form children can be at risk from the effects of malnutrition, lack of nurturing and stimulation.  This can lead to serious long-term effects such as greater susceptibility to serious childhood illnesses and reduction in potential stature.  With young people in particular, the consequences may be life-threatening within a relatively short period of time.

Planning Meeting - A Planning meeting (usually between social work and police) is usually held to plan a joint investigation - who does what and when is agreed.

Pre-Birth Child Protection Conference - An inter-agency meeting which considers the risk of harm to an unborn child and future risk upon the child's birth.

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Review Child Protection Conference - An inter-agency meeting which reviews the circumstances of a child whose name is on the Child Protection Register.


Sexual Abuse - is any act that involves the child in any activity for the sexual gratification of another person, whether or not it is claimed that the child either consented or assented.  Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.  The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts.  They may include non-contact activities such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or in watching sexual activities, using sexual language towards a child or encouraging children to behave in a sexually inappropriate way.

Significant Harm - Physical or mental injury or neglect, which seriously affects the welfare or development of the child.


Transfer Child Protection Conference - An inter-agency meeting which considers arrangements to transfer cases of a child whose name is on the Child Protection Register where the family moves to another area.

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Speak to someone

Social Care Direct:
0141 287 0555
Request a Children's Service

101 - non emergency
999 - in an emergency 

Scottish Children's Reporters Administration:
0131 244 2100

Child Line:
0800 11 11

Glasgow & Partners Emergency Social Work Service:
0300 343 1505

Glasgow City Carers Partnership's Carers Information Line
0141 353 6504 or visit yoursupportglasgow

Carer Your Support Your Way Glasgow

What does it mean ...?

Is there a word you don't understand? Then use our  a-z glossary for help.

See our A-Z Glossary

Glasgow Public Protection Learning Review

Glasgow Public Protection Learning Review Protocol, Notification forms and published documents can be found here.



Public Protection Newsletters can be found here.