Date lodged: 22 July 2016
To ask the Scottish Government what guidance it provides to local authorities regarding the right of access to children in cases when physical and/or sexual violence took place at home before the parents separated.
Answered by: Mark McDonald 19 August 2016
I refer the member to the answer to question S5W-01617 on 18 August 2016. In addition, the Scottish Government provides local authorities with the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland to support practitioners when a child protection concern has been identified. The national circumstances raised by the member. The guidance stresses that decisions relating to children should be placed firmly in the context of Getting it Right for Every Child, and that the GIRFEC approach means that the risks and needs of individual children should be understood in terms of the child’s wellbeing.
The Scottish Government has put together a working group of stakeholders in order to create national guidance on contact for children who are looked after away from home. This contact can be with the child’s parents, siblings or other family members or important people in the child’s life. Representatives from local authorities are a part of this group to ensure key aspects such as the assessment and planning for contact arrangements are clearly outlined. Within the guidance we intend to include a general reminder to practitioners to be aware of the impact of domestic abuse between parents, in addition to physical, sexual and emotional abuse – as well as neglect – has on the child and that this must inform the arrangements for contact.
The guidance is now at an advanced stage with the intention to publish this in autumn 2016.
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