Child protection - external guidance

Here are some recommended online resources in child protection - for RCPCH members, clinicians, policymakers and parents/carers. You can access all links below.

General Medical Council guidance

0-18 years: Guidance for all doctors

This guidance focuses on providing care for children and young people from birth to age 18. It is for all doctors and develops the duties and principles set out in 'Good medical practice'; doctors should be aware of the needs and welfare of children and young people when they see patients.

This guidance came into effect in October 2007.

Protecting children and young people: Doctors' responsibilities

This guidance sets out the child protection responsibilities of all doctors. It includes advice on:

  • Identifying children and young people at risk of, or suffering, abuse or neglect
  • Meeting the communication needs of children, young people and parents
  • Confidentiality and sharing information
  • Child protection examinations
  • Giving evidence in court.

The guidance came into effect in September 2012.

UK legislation, policy and guidance


Working together to safeguard children

A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Local authorities have a number of statutory functions under the 1989 and 2004 Children Acts, this guidance sets these out in details. Whilst local authorities play a lead role, safeguarding children and protecting them from harm is everyone's responsibility - everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment
  • Preventing impairment of children's health or development
  • Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

Published in March 2015.

Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners

Department for Education (DfE) guidance on information sharing for people who provide safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers. Information sharing is vital to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. A key factor identified in many serious case reviews (SCRs) has been a failure by practitioners to record information, to share it, to understand its significance and then take appropriate action. This advice is for all front-line practitioners and senior managers working with children, young people, parents and carers who have to make decisions about sharing personal information on a case by case basis.

Published in March 2015.

Safeguarding vulnerable people in the NHS

This document sets out safeguarding roles, duties and responsibilities of all organisations commissioning NHS Healthcare. The Accountability and Assurance Framework aims to:

  • Identify and clarify how relationships between health and other systems work at both strategic and operational levels to safeguard children, young people and adults at risk of abuse or neglect.
  • Clearly set out the legal framework for safeguarding as it relates to the various NHS organisations.
  • Outline principles, attitudes, expectations and ways of working that recognise that safeguarding is everybody's business.
  • Set out how the health system operates, how it will be held to account both locally and nationally to provide effective safeguarding arrangements.
  • Outline how professional leadership and expertise will be developed and retained, including Designated and Named Professionals for Safeguarding Children and Designated Adult Safeguarding Managers.

Published in July 2015.


Working together under the Children Act 2004

This document sets out how organisations and individuals should work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. It is addressed to Chief Officers, senior and operational managers as well as practitioners and front-line managers who are particular responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. The Welsh Assembly Government has adopted 'Seven Core Aims':

  • Have a flying start in life
  • Have a comprehensive range of education and learning opportunities
  • Enjoy the best possible health and are free from abuse, victimisation and exploitation
  • Have access to play, leisure, sporting and cultural activities
  • Are listened to, treated with respect, and have their race and cultural identity recognised
  • Have a safe home and a community which supports physical and emotional wellbeing
  • Are not disadvantaged by poverty.

Published in 2006.


National guidance for child protection in Scotland

This guidance provides a national framework within which agencies and practitioners at local level - individually and jointly - can understand and agree processes for working together to support, promote and safeguard the wellbeing of all children. It sets out expectations for strategic planning of services to protect children and young people and highlights key responsibilities for services and organisations, both individual and shared. It also serves as a resource for practitioners on specific areas of practice and key issues in child protection. This guidance is for all services, agencies, professional bodies and organisations, and for individuals working within an adult and child service context who face, or could face, child protection issues.

Published in May 2014.

Northern Ireland

This document provides the overarching policy framework for safeguarding children and young people in the statutory private, independent, community, voluntary and faith sectors. It outlines how communities, organisations and individuals must work both individually and in partnership to ensure children and young people are safeguarded as effectively as possible.

The policy was originally issued in March 2016, then updated in August 2017.