1.6 Legal Framework for Child Protection
This chapter was updated in September 2015 to include the Serious Crime Act .
The following has been reproduced from Appendix B of Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015.
|1.||All organisations that work with children and families share a commitment to safeguard and promote their welfare, and for many agencies that is underpinned by a statutory duty or duties.|
|2.||This Appendix briefly explains the legislation most relevant to work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.|
|CHILDREN ACT 2004|
|3.||Section 10 requires each Local Authority to make arrangements to promote co-operation between the authority, each of the authority’s relevant partners (see the table below) and such other persons or bodies, working with children in the local authority’s area, as the authority consider appropriate. The arrangements are to be made with a view to improving the well-being of children in the authority’s area – which includes protection from harm or Neglect alongside other outcomes.|
|4.||Section 11 requires a range of organisations (see table) to make arrangements for ensuring that their functions, and services provided on their behalf, are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.|
Section 13 of the Children Act 2004 requires each local authority to establish a Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) for their area and specifies the organisations and individuals (other than the local authority) that the Secretary of State may prescribe in regulations that should be represented on LSCBs.
Section 14 sets out the objectives of LSCBs, which are:
The LSCB Regulations 2006 made under section 13 set out the functions of LSCBs, which include undertaking reviews of the deaths of all children in their areas and undertaking Serious Case Reviews in certain circumstances.
|Click here to view Table A: Bodies covered by key duties.|
|EDUCATION ACT 2002|
|6.||Section 175 puts a duty on local education authorities, maintained (state) schools, and further education institutions, including sixth form colleges, to exercise their functions with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children – children who are pupils and students under 18 years of age, in the case of schools and colleges.|
|7.||And the same duty is put on Independent schools, including Academies / free schools, by regulations made under s157 of that Act.|
|CHILDREN ACT 1989|
|The Children Act 1989 places a duty on Councils with Social Services Responsibilities (CSSRs) to promote and safeguard the welfare of children in need in their area.|
Section 17(1) of the Children Act 1989 states that:
It shall be the general duty of every local authority:
Section 17(5) enables the local authority to make arrangements with others to provide services on their behalf and states that every local authority:
Section 17 (10) states that a child shall be taken to be In Need if:
Under section 17, local authorities have responsibility for determining what services should be provided to a child in need. This does not necessarily require local authorities themselves to be the provider of such services.
Section 47(1) of the Children Act 1989 states that:
Where a local authority:
|Children Act 1989 s47|
|8.||Under s17 of the Children Act 1989, CSSRs carry lead responsibility for establishing whether a child is In Need and for ensuring services are provided to that child as appropriate. This does not require CSSRs themselves necessarily to be the provider of such services.|
|9.||Section 17(5) of the Children Act 1989 enables the CSSR to make arrangements with others to provide services on their behalf.|
|Every local authority:
Children Act 1989 s17(5)
|10.||Section 53 of the Children Act 2004 amends both section 17 and section 47 of the Children Act 1989, to require in each case that before determining what services to provide or what action to take, the local authority shall, so far as is reasonably practicable and consistent with the child’s welfare:
|Emergency Protection Powers|
|11.||There are a range of powers available to local authorities and their statutory partners to take emergency action to safeguard children:|
Emergency Protection Orders
The court may make an emergency protection order under s44 of the Children Act 1989 if it is satisfied that there is reasonable cause to believe that a child is likely to suffer Significant Harm if:
An Emergency Protection Order may also be made if Section47 Enquiries are being frustrated by access to the child being unreasonably refused to a person authorised to seek access, and the applicant has reasonable cause to believe that access is needed as a matter of urgency.
An Emergency Protection Order gives authority to remove a child, and places the child under the protection of the applicant for a maximum of eight days (with a possible extension of up to seven days).
The Court may include an exclusion requirement in an Emergency Protection Order or an Interim Care Order (section 38A and 44A of the Children Act 1989). This allows a perpetrator to be removed from the home instead of having to remove the child. The Court must be satisfied that:
Police Protection Powers
Under s46 of the Children Act 1989, where a police officer has reasonable cause to believe that a child would otherwise be likely to suffer Significant Harm, s/he may:
No child may be kept in Police Protection for more than 72 hours.
Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011
Section 1 (8)(h) requires the police and crime commissioner to hold the chief constable to account for the exercise of the latter’s duties in relation to safeguarding children under Section 10 and Section 11 of the Children Act 2004.
Childcare Act 2006
Section 40 requires early years providers to comply with the welfare requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014
Anti-Social Behaviour Injunctions can be granted against a person aged 10 or over, to prevent them engaging in anti-social behaviour. The injunction may include provisions requiring the young person to do specified things, and/or prohibiting them from doing specified things.
For under-18s, the injunction must be for a specified period of time, which must be no more than 12 months.
These injunctions replace the previous Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) under section 1 Crime and Disorder Act 1998.
Sexual Harm Prevention Orders and Sexual Risk Orders
These orders were introduced by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. They replace the previous Sexual Offences Prevention Order, Risk of Sexual Harm Orders and Foreign Travel Orders which were introduced by the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
The court needs to be satisfied that the order is necessary for protecting the public, or any particular members of the public, from sexual harm from the defendant; or protecting children or vulnerable adults generally, or any particular children or vulnerable adults, from sexual harm from the defendant outside the United Kingdom.
The Orders prohibit the defendant from doing anything described in the order, and can include a prohibition on foreign travel (replacing Foreign Travel Orders which were introduced by the Sexual Offences Act 2003)
Failure to comply with a requirement imposed under an Order is an offence punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment.
Sexual Harm Prevention Orders
Sexual Harm Prevention Orders can be applied to anyone convicted or cautioned of a sexual or violent offence, including where offences are committed overseas. They replace the previous Sexual Offences Prevention Orders.
A prohibition contained in a Sexual Harm Prevention Order has effect for a fixed period, specified in the order, of at least 5 years, or until further order. The Order may specify different periods for different prohibitions.
Sexual Risk Orders
Sexual Risk Orders can be made where a person has done an act of a sexual nature as a result of which there is reasonable cause to believe that it is necessary for such an order to be made, even if they have never been convicted. They replace the previous Risk of Sexual Harm Orders.
A prohibition contained in a Sexual Risk Order has effect for a fixed period, specified in the order, of not less than 2 years, or until further order. The Order may specify different periods for different prohibitions.
Serious Crime Act (2015)
An offence of sexual communication with a child has been introduced by the Serious Crime Act 2015. This applies to an adult who communicates with a child and the communication is sexual or if it is intended to elicit from the child a communication which is sexual and the adult reasonably believes the child to be under 16 years of age. The Act also amended the Sex Offences Act 2003 so it is now an offence for an adult to arrange to meet with someone under 16 having communicated with them on just one occasion (previously it was on at least two occasions).
|HOUSING ACT 1996|
|12.||Under Section 213A of the Housing Act 1996 (inserted by Section 12 of the Homelessness Act 2002), housing authorities are required to refer to adult social care services homeless persons with dependent children who are ineligible for homelessness assistance or are intentionally homeless as long as the person consents. If homelessness persists, any child in the family could be In Need. In such cases, if social services decide the child’s needs would be best met by helping the family to obtain accommodation, they can ask the housing authority for reasonable advice and assistance in this and the housing authority must give reasonable advice and assistance.|