Child protection system in the UK

The UK’s four nations – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – each have their own child protection system and laws to help protect children from abuse and neglect.

Each nation has a framework of legislation, guidance and practice to identify children who are at risk of harm, take action to protect those children and prevent further abuse occurring.

Each UK nation is responsible for its own policies and laws around education, health and social welfare. This covers most aspects of safeguarding and child protection.

Laws are passed to prevent behaviour that can harm children or require action to protect children. Guidance sets out what organisations should do to play their part to keep children safe.

Although the child protection systems are different in each nation, they are all based on similar principles.

 

England

Explains how the child protection system works in England, outlining key legislation and guidance for anyone who works with children and families.

Find out more

Northern Ireland

Explains how the child protection system works in Northern Ireland, outlining key legislation and guidance for anyone who works with children and families.

Find out more

Scotland

Explains how the child protection system works in Scotland, outlining key legislation and guidance for anyone who works with children and families.

 

 

Find out more

Wales

Explains how the child protection system works in Wales, outlining key legislation and guidance for anyone who works with children and families.

Find out more

History of child protection in the UK

A chronology of key developments in child protection in the UK.

See the timeline

Child protection definitions

An A-Z list explaining key terms used in children protection in the UK.

Find a term

Children the law

Outlines key legislation relating to children and young people including children's rights, age of consent, age of criminal responsibility, school leaving age, child employment and GDPR.

Find out more