There are many policies and procedures within the UK that outline the current legislation and guidelines to help with safeguarding children:-
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989. This law ensures that children are safe and looked after. It states that children have the right to be protected from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation including sexual abuse by those looking after them. This law spells out the basic human rights of every child and it sets standards in health care, education, and legal, civil and social services.
The Children Act 1989. Under this law parents and professionals must work to ensure the safety of the child and the welfare of the child is paramount with regard to their upbringing. It also identifies what local authorities and courts must do in order to protect a child’s welfare. If an authority suspects that a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, they have a duty to investigate because every child has a right to protection from abuse and exploitation. A main principal in this act was that children are better off being looked after by their family.
The Protection of Children Act 1999 is the law that ensures nobody unsuitable to work with children is employed in a position that involves regular contact with children whether it be paid or unpaid. The secretary of state has a duty to record the names of anyone unsuitable to work with children. Its main aim being to prevent paedophiles working with children and a childcare employer must carry out certain checks through the criminals record bureau before employing a person. Any childcare organisation in England & Wales must has a duty to inform the Department of Health if they suspect the harming of a child.
The Education Act 2002 sets out the responsibilities of Local Education Authorities, Governing Bodies, head teachers and all those working in school to ensure that children are safe and free from harm.
Children Act 2004. This provides the legal framework for Every Child Matters. That every child : be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well being. It includes provisions about private fostering, child minding and adoption review panels. The Act also updates the legislation on physical punishment by making it an offence to hit a child if it causes them mental harm or leaves a mark on the skin.
Childcare Act 2006 is the first act designed solely to deal with early years and childcare. It sets out the duties of organisations such as local authorities and how they must work together to safeguard children and young people.
Further legislation include the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which was introduced to update the legislation relating to offences against children and includes offences committed abroad by British Citizens. This act updated the Sex Offenders Act 1997 to strengthen the monitoring of those on the sex offenders register. The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 was introduced to create a new offence of causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable adult. This meant that a member of the household, aware that a child is at risk, could be held responsible