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Local Safeguarding Children Boards

Local Safeguarding Children Boards were set up to protect every child's right to be safe wherever they are - from school to home and even online.

Local Safeguarding Children Boards were established after high profile cases where the system let children down, notably the death of eight-year old Victoria Climbié in London in 2000. She'd been seen by housing officers, social workers, nurses, doctors and the NSPCC. A government inquiry found none of them did enough to protect her.

Keeping children safe

Most adults a child will come into contact with have a role in keeping children safe from harm and abuse. These include parents and other carers, teachers and other education professionals, doctors, nurses, social workers, the police, faith leaders, youth workers and sports coaches.

All local authorities in England and Wales have a Safeguarding Children Board. The local safeguarding team or social workers should be available for a child to talk to with concerns about harm, abuse or sexual exploitation.

In Scotland, child protection services are provided by Child Protection Committees which hold strategic oversight for services in an area and co-ordinate a child's needs between agencies.

In Northern Ireland, Area Child Protection Committees carry out a similar role.

The Children Act defines harm as ill-treatment, including sexual abuse and non-physical forms of ill-treatment, or the impairment of health (physical or mental), or development (physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural). 

Local Safeguarding Children Boards should ensure that different organisations, including local councils, police, schools and voluntary organisations, work together in the best interest of a child.

Training for staff is put in place and standards monitored.

The work of Local Safeguarding Children Boards is overseen by the education watchdog OFSTED.

At-risk

An assessment of a child considered to be at-risk is called a common assessment. This can be done before a baby is born or at any stage for babies, children or young people.

Concern could be raised for many reasons, including a child's lack of progress, or if there are warning signs such as truanting and running away from home.

The NHS has designated doctors and nurses who deal with child protection issues. Professional bodies and Local Safeguarding Children Boards emphasise a duty for health workers to make a referral if there is a reasonable belief that a child is at risk of significant harm.

Action will be coordinated between relevant agencies. 

Children with concerns about harm or abuse may prefer to contact ChildLine on 0800 1111. People with concerns about a child's welfare can contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on December 12, 2012

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