Child protection

exercise37.jpgChild protection is a high priority for the College and plays a part in everything we do. It is an emotive and potentially contentious subject, but one that is everybody's business.


Child protection is the process of protecting individual children identified as either suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect. It involves measures and structures designed to prevent and respond to abuse and neglect.

Child abuse involves acts of commission and omission, which results in harm to the child. The four types of abuse are physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect.

The College has a Child Protection Officer who leads on all aspects of our work. Dr Geoff Debelle is the current Child Protection Officer. He is supported by Emily Roberts, Child Protection Policy Lead.

Why is child protection important?

All children have a right to protection against abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence and many organisations have a statutory duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. A successful approach requires multi-agency collaboration and a recognition of child wellbeing at the heart of the organisation.

The College strives to provide clear and concise guidance and encourage the development of systems and structures, both at national and local levels, to protect children.

Difference between safeguarding and child protection

Safeguarding, and promoting the welfare of children, is a broader term than child protection. It encompasses protecting children from maltreatment, preventing impairment of children's health or development, and ensures children grow up in safe circumstances.

Child protection is part of this definition and refers to activities undertaken to prevent children suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm.

Named and designated doctors for safeguarding

Designated and named professionals have specific roles and responsibilities for safeguarding children, as described in Intercollegiate Safeguarding Competences (March 2014) (PDF, 1.16 MB).

Primary Care Trusts must have a designated doctor, and nurse, to take a professional and strategic lead on all aspects of the health service contribution to safeguarding children.

All NHS Trusts must have a named doctor, and nurse, for safeguarding, who will provide advice and expertise for fellow professionals and promote good practice within their organisation.

Publications and resources

The College has developed or recommends a number of child protection publications

These include the Child Protection Companion - your handbook on all forms of child abuse, covering the child protection processes across the whole range of medical and social interactions.

Further information


If you have any questions or comments, please contact our Health Policy team on