Call for child protection helpline

A leading Scottish children¡¦s charity this week
called for a national child protection helpline for Scotland to be
created, writes Amy Taylor in

Speaking at Community Care Live Scotland, Margaret McKay, chief
executive of CHILDREN 1st, said the helpline would give people a
safe place to explore any concerns they had about a child without
formally reporting them.

“They need to be able to explore it [the concern]. They need to
know what is likely to happen if they speak to social services.
Often they have a completely misheld view that someone will sweep
in and take away the child. It would ensure that people didn’t keep
it to themselves inappropriately”, she said.

McKay added that every inquiry into a child’s death through
abuse or neglect uncovered a member of the public who had noticed
something out of place with the child but had not done anything
about it.

She said that one in 10 calls to a helpline for parents,
ParentLine Scotland, ran by her charity were from callers with
child protection concerns. Unlike in England and Wales, where the
children’s charity the NSPCC runs such a service, there is no child
protection helpline in Scotland.

McKay said the helpline needed to be staffed by child protection
professionals who would be able to make judgements on people’s

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