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Child Protection Policy

A. Introduction and purpose

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. Other related documents include Scottish Book Trust's Code of Conduct, Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion Statement of Intent, Vulnerable Adult policy, Bookbug Session Leader Agreement and our social media guidelines.(this link will open in a new window)

B. Definitions

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 key areas of abuse that children may be subject to.

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.Read more about the definitions and signs of child abuse on the NSPCC website(this link will open in a new window).

C. Roles and responsibilities

1. 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 reviewed annually by the Designated Child Protection Officer to ensure it is up to date and compliant with current legislation and best practice.

2. Lead officers

Scottish Book Trust has a Designated Child Protection Officer, 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 contact details are as follows:

Designated Child Protection Officer (DCPO)

Helena Barrett-Duncan, Early Years Community Engagement Manager

[email protected](this link will open in a new window)

Telephone: 0131 526 0160

Deputy Designated Child Protection Officer (Deputy DCPO)

Heather Collins, School Communities Manager

[email protected](this link will open in a new window)

Telephone: 0131 524 0160

The Designated Child Protection Officer and Deputy Designated Child Protection Officer are supported by Alison Bunn, Director of Finance and Operations from Senior Management Team. 

3. Team representatives

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

D. Policy statement

We recognise that:

We will seek to keep children and young people safe by:

E. Policy context

This policy is informed by:

Please see Appendix 2 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)(this link will open in a new window) 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, placing an importance on information sharing. We use the GiRFEC National Practice Model(this link will open in a new window) to encourage and implement this information sharing. We will use the SHANARRI Wellbeing Indicators(this link will open in a new window) (Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included) to structure any records of specific concerns. This policy has been updated in line with the 2022 GIRFEC update(this link will open in a new window). More information on GIRFEC and the SHANARRI indicators can be found in Appendix 3.

F. 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 Designated Child Protection Officer. Staff should contact their line manager, the Designated Child Protection Officer 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 Designated Child Protection Officer immediately.

Staff members should always make sure they have the number of the Designated Child Protection Officer with them at events and if the event is out of hours that a member of Senior Management Team is aware of your event and available on call should any issues arise. Staff are reminded of this requirement when they complete the event risk assessment.

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.


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:


The Designated Child Protection Officer/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 Designated Child Protection Officer 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/Designated Child Protection Officer, 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 Designated Child Protection Officer, 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 4 for places to go for further support when dealing with child welfare concerns.

G. Allegations against staff

If staff have any child protection and safeguarding concerns about a member of staff or freelancer working on our behalf, then in the first instance they should speak to their line manager. 

This concern should then be passed on to the Designated Child Protection Officer/Deputy Designated Child Protection Officer and Director of Finance and Operations. 

The Designated Child Protection Officer is not responsible for investigating any allegations. HR will be responsible for any investigations, with support from Senior Management team if appropriate, in line with our Whistleblowing policy.

If staff have concerns about the behaviour of the Designated Child Protection Officer or Deputy, they should speak to the Director of Finance and Operations.

If staff have concerns about the Senior Management team they should discuss with their line manager and refer to the organisation’s whistleblowing policy

H. 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.

For children and young people events hosted by Scottish Book Trust:

For events in schools or community venues where responsibility for hosting the event sits with teachers, libraries, partner contacts:

Event planning

When working with partners, establish who the lead is for child protection and safeguarding, clearly define responsibilities, share and agree the importance of monitoring child protection to our standards.

Risk assessments should be carried out for events. Staff should use one of Scottish Book Trust’s available Risk Asssessment templates(this link will open in a new window), as appropriate to the programme/event being planned.

If you are a partner or affiliate please contact your Scottish Book Trust representative if you need these templates.

I. 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 are employed by Scottish Book Trust, must have Basic Disclosure clearance from Disclosure Scotland. 

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.

PVG scheme membership(this link will open in a new window) is required for staff or freelancers delivering our programmes who work with children and young people as part of their regulated work.

We will closely monitor for when the Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020(this link will open in a new window) is implemented and make any adjustments to our policies accordingly.

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

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.

J. Training

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 completed the NSPCC (Scotland) Introduction to Child Protection online training course and follow up discussions with the Designated Child Protection Officer/Deputy Designated Child Protection Officer. The completion certificate should be handed to the HR administrator for storing. 

Scottish Book Trust nominates a Designated Child Protection Officer and Deputy Designated Child Protection Officer who are both required to complete the NSPCC (Scotland) Designated Child Protection Officer 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 Designated Child Protection Officer and Deputy Designated Child Protection Officer 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.

The Designated Child Protection Officer/Deputy Designated Child Protection Officer meets with Child Protection representatives monthly and cascade information and learning on safeguarding and child protection policy and process updates to them to share with their teams. 

Appendix 1: Digital Child Protection Policy

Whilst working in online and digital spaces presents unique challenges to existing child protection procedures, adherence and awareness of our existing policies and procedures is essential.

Some children are additionally vulnerable or at risk through digital platforms, and we are required to be aware of those risks. Child protection in a digital context is the responsibility of every adult working in this setting.

A. What are the potential risks?

We will seek to keep children and young people safe by:

B. Online workshops, events and livestreams

To create a safe environment for children in any livestream we will take safety considerations into account, in addition to following our safeguarding policies and procedures.

For activities not hosted by Scottish Book Trust, we will:

For activities hosted by Scottish Book Trust, we will:

Before any livestream, remind children of the following, whether they are watching or participating:

Be mindful that, even if a participating child can’t be seen, there may still be identifying information such as their name, email address or a link to their social media account. 

Ensure an appropriate level of staffing is present for any activity. Three staff members should be present at a minimum, though some events may require additional staffing. Giving each member a defined role, such as moderating discussions, or engaging with the audience.

Never reveal the full identity of individual participants and keep any identifying information private, and be particularly sensitive to the needs of those who may be at an additional risk, such as those from care-experienced backgrounds.

If the event is public, ensure to the best of our ability that people are who they say they are, and only include those who should be there. This can include asking the audience to register to watch the stream and issuing a log in and password.

Always ensure we use an appropriate platform for the activity, being aware that some platforms do not allow you to restrict the audience.

Ensure the platform has appropriate tools for moderating comments, questions and user names. This should include familiarising staff with functionality and available tools. 

Be sensitive to the needs of individual children, for example those who may be sensitive to particular topics or issues that may arise during the live stream.

Make sure the platform we use is accessible to d/Deaf and disabled children.

Anyone working on behalf of Scottish Book Trust appearing in the live stream will make sure their surroundings and environment are appropriate – they should be in a neutral area where nothing personal or inappropriate can be seen or heard in the background.

C. Social Media

Scottish Book Trust staff

Certain staff members on occasion might have contact with children through social media or other online communications channels. For example, if children and young people contact us directly or if we need to contact them regarding competitions or prize entries. This section outlines a code of conduct for adults in this situation.

We will always:

Creative practitioners and delivery partners

Authors, illustrators, creative practitioners or other freelancers working on behalf of Scottish Book Trust may use social media for their own professional and private use. While this policy covers work specifically with Scottish Book Trust, it is not intended to cover all social media activity by those working on our behalf. However, there are some additional considerations that should be observed for those in that situation.

Appendix 2

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:

If you would like to see a copy of any of these policies not available on our website please email [email protected]

Appendix 3: Further support

Signposting children for further support

Through Childline, children and young people can access a range of support including:

Further support can be found from:

Signposting concerned adults for further support