Child protection publications

This page contains key RCPCH child protection publications, as well as important external publications and an archive of relevant RCPCH publications.

On this page:

RCPCH guidance

Child Protection Companion (2013)

The Companion is your handbook on all forms of child abuse, covering the child protection processes across the whole range of medical and social interactions: from examination, to identification, to referral, to court. Now available through Paediatric Care Online.

More about the Companion

Safeguarding children and young people: roles and competences for health care staff (March 2014)

Provides a competency framework for all groups (ranging from non-clinical staff to experts), information on education and training and role descriptions for named and designated professionals. This document will help all health staff understand their responsibilities in recognising child maltreatment and how to take effective action.

Safeguarding children and young people: roles and competences for health care staff (PDF, 1MB)

Job description - designated doctor for child protection (PDF)

Job description - named doctor for child protection  (PDF)

Physical signs of child sexual abuse - 2nd edition (May 2015)

Available free of charge to all designated and named doctors, or to order.Focuses on evidence for the physical signs of child sexual abuse (CSA) in female genitalia, male genitalia, anal signs, oral signs and sexually transmitted infections. 

This second edition provides an update of the evidence-based review and also includes three new reviews: anogenital signs of accidental injuries in girls and boys, genital bleeding in prepubertal girls and healing in anogenital injuries.

More about CSA handbook

Service specification for the clinical evaluation of children and young who may have been sexually abused (September 2015)

Outlines the standards for the provision of a paediatric forensic medical service for children and young people who may have been sexually abused. Prepared by a working group of the RCPCH Child Protection Standing Committee in partnership with the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine to inform the establishment of these services in the UK.

Service specification for the clinical evaluation of children and young people who may have been sexually abused (PDF)

Child protection medical examinations for young people aged 16-18 years old (January 2016)

This position statement clarifies the role of paediatricians and provides advice for commissioners in relation to the provision of child protection / safeguarding health services for children aged 16 to 18 years.

Child protection medical examinations for young people aged 16-18 years old (January 2016) (PDF, 435KB)

Good practice recommendations: peer review in safeguarding (March 2012)

Outlines purpose, aims, process and pitfalls of peer review, and includes a series of good practice recommendations as well as a template terms of reference.

Good practice recommendations: peer review in safeguarding (PDF)

Child protection peer review: what help is there for a paediatric registrar? (PDF, 13KB) 

Child protection clinical network: Protecting children, supporting clinicians (2010) 

It is critically important that clinicians have appropriate skills and competencies and that they work in supportive environments with clear governance frameworks.

Managed clinical networks can provide robust arrangements across organisations, as well as the collective capacity and expertise to ensure equitable access to specialist advice, high quality training, development and support; and to facilitate strategy development, governance and quality improvement. 

Child protection clinical networks: protecting children, supporting clinician (PDF)

 Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine  Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine guidance

Guidelines on paediatric forensic examinations in relation to possible child sexual abuse (PDF) - published May 2012, developed in partnership with RCPCH

Guidance for best practice for the management of intimate images that may become evidence in court (PDF) - published May 2014, developed in partnership with the RCPCH and the Association of Chief Police Officers

Guidelines on the urgency of CSA examinations (May 2013) - flowcharts developed in partnership with the RCPCH to support forensic physicians and paediatricians deciding when to examine a pre- or post-pubertal child in cases of suspected sexual offences. This guidance should help paediatricians when considering if to examine out of hours or whether to wait until the following day.

Recommendations for the collection of forensic specimens from complainants and suspects - updated biannually

Quality Standards for Doctors Undertaking Paediatric Sexual Offence Medicine (PSOM) – February 2014

General Medical Council guidance 

0-18 years: guidance for all doctors - 2007

Protecting children and young people: The responsibilities of all doctors - 2012

Guidance for other specialties

Standards for radiological investigations of suspected non-accidental injury (PDF) - 2008

Safeguarding children: guidelines for occupational health professionals (PDF) - March 2014, developed with the particular setting of occupational health in mind by a joint working group of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) and the RCPCH, and ratified by the FOM Board and the RCPCH Standing Committee on Child Protection

Child protection and the anaesthetist (PDF) - July 2014. To assist anaesthetists and theatre personnel if concerns are raised during the course of a routine anaesthetic or perioperative care that suggest a child may have been deliberately harmed, or that a child or other children in the family may be the victim of harm or neglect in the future; the second part of the document (Appendix 1) deals with the process that surrounds a planned anaesthetic for a formal (‘forensic’) examination, when signs of possible child sexual abuse are to be investigated