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Child Protection Policy

This policy applies to all Scottish Book Trust staff and the Board of Trustees, as well as to contractors, consultants, freelancers, creative practitioners, student placements, interns or anyone else working on behalf of Scottish Book Trust.

The purpose of this policy is to protect children and young people (those under the age of 18) who participate in Scottish Book Trust programmes.

It also provides staff, freelancers and volunteers with the basic principles that guide our approach to child protection.

Scottish Book Trust believes that a child or young person should never experience abuse of any kind. We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people and to keep them safe, and we are committed to carrying out our activities in a way that protects them.


Child: For the purpose of this policy a Child is someone under the age of 18.

Child protection is keeping a child safe from abuse or neglect. Protecting children means when to be concerned about their safety and recognising when and how to share these concerns.

Safeguarding: Child Protection is part of our wider safeguarding policies. Safeguarding refers to promoting the welfare of children, young people and protected adults. This encompasses protecting children from abuse and maltreatment, preventing harm to children’s health or development, ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care, taking action to enable all children and young people to have the best outcomes.

Child abuse: Child abuse happens when a person – adult or child – harms a child. It can be physical, sexual or emotional, but can also involve a lack of love, care and attention. Neglect can be just as damaging to a child as physical or sexual abuse.

Types of abuse: The following summary outlines the keys areas of abuse that children may be subject to.

  1. Physical Abuse is deliberately hurting a child causing injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns or cuts.
  2. Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child's basic needs and is the most common form of child abuse. A child may be left hungry or dirty, without adequate clothing, shelter, supervision, medical or health care.
  3. Sexual Abuse is when a child is forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities. This doesn't have to be physical contact and it can happen online.
  4. Emotional Abuse is the ongoing emotional maltreatment of a child. It’s sometimes called psychological abuse. It can involve deliberately trying to scare or humiliate a child or isolating or ignoring them.

Who can be abusers? Anyone, including other young people.

Where can abuse happen? Anywhere, including online

More detailed information can be found at NSPCC(this will open in a new window).

Roles and Responsibilities

Setting Policy

Scottish Book Trust’s Board of Trustees and the Chief Executive are responsible for ensuring an appropriate Child Protection Policy is in place and staff are trained in the use of the policy. The policy is regularly reviewed annually by the Designated Child Protection Officer to ensure it is up to date and compliant with current legislation and best practice.

Lead Officers

Scottish Book Trust has a Designated Child Protection Officer (DCPO), and a deputy, to whom staff can refer any concerns or issues regarding child protection or discuss and seek guidance on child protection more generally.

The DCPO and Deputy DCPO are available to answer any questions and provide advice from Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm. If you are from an organisation, we always recommend speaking to your own designated child protection officer in the first instance. 

The Scottish Book Trust lead officer contact details are as follows:

Designated Child Protection Officer (DCPO)

Caitrin Armstrong

Email: caitrin.armstrong@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window)

Telephone: 0131 514 0160

Deputy DCPO

Heather Collins, School Communities Manager

Email: heather.collins@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window)

Telephone: 0131 525 0160

The DCPO and Deputy DCPO are supported by Alison Bunn, Director of Finance and Operations from Senior Management Team.

Team Representatives

Each programme team has an elected child protection representative to risk assess and oversee team activities reporting back and supported by the DCPO and Deputy DCPO.

Policy Statement

We recognise that:

Policy Context

This policy is informed by:

Please see Appendix 1 for the full legal framework that informs this policy.

It is recognised that children and young people are more at risk than adults due to their immaturity, developmental stage and relative powerlessness compared to adults. It is necessary therefore to ensure they are protected and this is everyone’s responsibility.

Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC)

Scottish Book Trust supports the basic principles and values of Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) so that every child can grow up feeling loved, safe and respected, and realise their full potential. The GIRFEC framework provides opportunities to work with other agencies to report any issues or concerns we might have to the child’s named person using the GIRFEC Wellbeing Concern Form. We will use the SHANARRI Wellbeing Indicators (Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included) to structure any records of specific concerns. More information on GIRFEC and the SHANARRI indicators can be found here in Appendix 2.

Recording and reporting concerns


In the course of our work, it is important to maintain an open and supportive culture around child protection with Scottish Book Trust staff, our partners and the communities we work with. Therefore, we should communicate any concerns about a child or young person’s safety as soon as we become aware of it.

The majority of Scottish Book Trust work with children and young people happens in community settings such as schools and libraries, where children are in groups and accompanied by teachers/librarians and/or carers, as well as our staff. Staff members or freelancers should never be left alone with children or in sole charge; other responsible adults are usually leading the groups or children.

In these circumstances, if a staff member has a concern about a child’s safety or welfare, they should speak to the “named person” or responsible adult in the school, library or other community venue they are working in. This adult may well be aware of the situation and be able to reassure the staff member that the issue is being dealt with or agree that they will make a note of the concern and refer it through the usual “named person” channels of reporting. The issue should still be reported by the staff member on their return to the office, to their line manager and the DCPO. Staff should contact their line manager, the DCPO or deputy if they wish to discuss any urgent action or seek advice around child protection whilst they are away from the office. If the concern is about the “named person” or responsible adult in the school, or the setting itself concerns should be raised directly with the DCPO immediately.

However, if the situation is urgent and the child’s safety is in immediate danger, the staff member should call the local authority Social Services duty officer, the police or the emergency services, whichever is appropriate to the nature of the risk.

Whilst it is unlikely that staff or freelancers will encounter an abuse situation or disclosure, should this happen, it is important to take it seriously and act as soon as possible.

Responding to disclosures of abuse

It can be very hard for children and young people to speak out about abuse. Often they fear there may be negative consequences if they tell anyone what's happening or has happened to them. It is vital therefore that whoever they tell takes them seriously and acts on what they've been told.

Even if a child doesn’t tell someone verbally about what’s happened to them, there may be other indicators that something is wrong. For more guidance on recognising signs of abuse see the NSPCC Definitions and Signs of child abuse document(this will open in a new window).


Disclosure is the process by which children and young people start to share their experiences of abuse with others. Children may disclose directly or indirectly. Not all disclosures will lead to an 'official allegation' of abuse or a case being taken to court, but all disclosures should be taken seriously.

Responding to abuse disclosures

In a situation where a child discloses potential abuse, there are a number of steps that should be taken.

Dealing with Disclosure

Recording Incidents

Any child protection concerns or disclosures should be recorded by the staff member as soon as possible following the awareness or disclosure. In the first instance, this can be in the form of a confidential written note which can then be used to write up a fuller formal report where necessary.

The following key information should be noted:

Staff should use the appropriate form(s) to record their concerns or the incident. Please email us at info@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) to request appropriate forms.

The DCPO/Deputy or line manager will review this, confirm any further action required and make a note of it. If the situation merits, this information can also be passed on to the named person or any other agency which becomes involved. The DCPO will respond to any concerns raised within 24 hours of being notified.

The information will be stored securely, in accordance with our Data Protection Policy, and signed off by the staff member as an accurate record.

If merited, the incident will also be reported to the Board under the Significant Incident Reporting system.


Notwithstanding the need to report concerns as soon as possible to the relevant named/responsible adult and/or the staff member’s line manager/DCPO, it is important that in the course of reporting such concerns, confidentiality is managed internally and we should not involve other staff unnecessarily. Any decision to share information related to these concerns beyond the responsible adult/named person should be taken in consultation with the line manager or DCPO, unless the situation is urgent, is an emergency or a young person is at risk of serious harm, in which case other agencies should be alerted as appropriate.

Further support

Please see Appendix 3 for places to go for further support when dealing with child welfare concerns.

Allegations against staff

If staff have concerns about the behaviour of/need to pass on allegations about another member of staff or a freelancer working on our behalf, they should speak to the DCPO/Deputy.

If staff have concerns about the behaviour of the DCPO or Deputy, they should speak to a member of the Senior Management Team.

Risk Assessment and General Good Practice

When planning and carrying out our work involving children, the following general rules should help to provide a supportive and safe environment for staff and children:

Event Planning

Staff should use one of the available templates, as appropriate to the programme/event being planned. These can be found in ..\Risk Assessment Templates

When working with partners, establish who is the lead, who has what responsibilities, share and agree the importance of monitoring child protection to our standards.

For further information, NSPCC (this will open in a new window)has useful documents and resources.

Recruitment and Disclosure Scotland

An important element of Scottish Book Trust’s Child Protection Policy is to recruit appropriately trained and experienced staff into post. All staff who, through their work with Scottish Book Trust, have access to children or young people in any form (e.g. face to face, telephone, online, through our programme submissions) must have basic clearance from Disclosure Scotland.

PVG scheme membership is required for staff or freelancers delivering our programmes who work with children and young people as part of their regulated work on an ongoing basis.

This clearance is obtained as part of the recruitment and appointment process and is renewed every 3 years for continuing staff. In addition, the appraisal process checks annually whether there is any change to the nature of a staff member’s role which requires a new disclosure or a higher level of disclosure i.e. membership of the PVG scheme.

The HR and Operations Team is responsible for ensuring the appropriate disclosure checks/memberships are made prior to appointment and reviewed at the 3 year anniversary.

Line Managers are responsible for checking annually during the appraisal process that the Disclosure level is appropriate and in place before signing off the appraisal.


Line managers and Heads of Team must ensure that all staff who work with children as part of their role at Scottish Book Trust have attended the in-house Child Protection training or have completed the NSPCC (Scotland) online training course. The completion certificate should be handed to the HR administrator for storing.

Scottish Book Trust nominates a Designated Child Protection Officer (DCPO) who is required to complete the NSPCC (Scotland) DCPO training or refresher course prior to appointment to this role. Refresher training should be undertaken where changes to legislation occur but at least every 3 years. The Deputy must complete the NSPCC (Scotland) online training course, as a minimum.

The DCPO/deputy DCPO will hold workshops or 1-1 sessions as required to ensure new staff, or staff new to a post, where working with children is a significant part of their role are confident they understand the Child Protection Policy and know how to implement it.

The DCPO and Deputy DCPO will monitor through newsletters and other networking channels any changes to legislation and best practice and ensure the Child Protection Policy is kept up-to-date. Changes to the Child Protection Policy will be flagged to staff and relevant training given if the changes are significant.

Appendix 1

Legal framework and link to other Scottish Book Trust policies

This policy has been drawn up on the basis of legislation, policy and guidance that seeks to protect children in Scotland:

Other Scottish Book Trust policies and procedures connected to Child Protection are:

Appendix 2

GIRFEC Practitioners Summary – Key Practice Points

GIRFEC Wellbeing Indicators

The Well-being Indicators (this will open in a new window)can also be used to structure recording of a specific concern that may be raised with or by practitioners that may need further assessment or action, for example, not doing as well in school as expected. A concern can be an event itself, or a series of events, or attributes, which affect the well-being or potential well-being of a child or young person, for example, missing appointments for health checks A concern might be a fact, an attribute or a characteristic of someone associated with the child or young person which does not take the form of an event (again something that might make the child young person vulnerable), for example, living in a family where a parent may be misusing drugs or alcohol. Parents, children and young people themselves may have concerns that they bring to the attention of practitioners.

The Well-being Indicators are also used when a plan is being constructed or reviewed, to summarise the child or young person’s needs that will be addressed in the child’s plan.

There are five questions practitioners need to ask themselves when they are concerned about a child or young person:

When practitioners have sufficient information to know what needs to be done to support the child or young person, then they can ensure help is put in place without delay either by a single agency or more than one agency.

Appendix 3

Further Support

Through Childline(this will open in a new window), children and young people can access a range of support including:

Childline website: www.childline.org.uk(this will open in a new window)

Telephone: 0800 1111

Signposting children for further support

Signposting concerned adults for further support