In cases where you’re uncertain whether or not there are child protection issues, a process for dealing quickly with informal inquiries has been developed.
Through the Designated Person for Child Protection within your organisation, and with the young person’s consent, informal inquires can be made with a number of partner agencies.
Initially this can be done on an anonymous basis, not giving the young person’s name, but outlining relevant details of the case. It may be easier for the young person to allow information to be shared on an anonymous basis.
If the young person is prepared to consent to names being used, it may be possible to find out whether any of the agencies know of other concerns about the young person, his/her partner and his/her circumstances.
Young people should be made aware that, where information is shared informally on a named basis with the police, the police will decide whether a criminal investigation is required. A criminal investigation will not normally be required where:
- Both parties are aged 13, 14 or 15 AND
- The sexual act or acts have clearly been fully consensual.
If either party is:
- Under the age of 13 or
- 16 or over
- Either party has not given free agreement to any sexual act
there would be a police investigation.
If a police investigation does take place it is likely that evidence would be collected from a number of sources, including a young person’s parents. If further action is taken it this would be following consultation with the Reporter to the Children’s Panel and/or Procurator Fiscal.