Simple questions to protect children
A Scottish Office Check List
A handful of simple questions could prevent a child being harmed or abused by adults running youth clubs and groups, Minister for Young People Cathy Jamieson said today.
Over half a million young people are involved in organisations such as the scouts, guides and sports clubs.
A new Parent Checklist for Youth Activities lists 15 questions that every parent should ask when children are joining any group or organisation.
- Are there procedures in place for recruitment and training?
- Is there clear guidance on behaviour towards children?
- Are there adequate numbers of leaders and helpers?
- Is the group subject to regulation and inspection?
- Is parental consent sought for outside visits, adventure activities etc?
- Are parents encouraged to visit the group and meet the staff?
Ms Jamieson said:
"There are thousands of youth organisations in Scotland and the overwhelming majority are well-run by paid workers and volunteers. These groups and clubs help young people develop, learn and have fun. The vast majority of groups have procedures in place to protect children and re-assure parents.
"Unfortunately we cannot take it for granted that everyone adheres to the same standards and this could put children in danger - either by exposing them to unsuitable adults or putting them at risk of injury.
"The checklist being published today provides parents with the questions they should ask to assure themselves that their children will be looked after properly. It also offers advice on what parents can do if they are unhappy with the way an organisation is run.
"The checklist could mean the difference between a safe child and a harmed child. Well-run organisations will welcome and encourage this kind of parental interest.
"As an additional safeguard, we are taking action to tighten up the law on adults working with children. The Protection of Children Bill, published last month, will ensure that anyone sacked or moved as a result of their behaviour towards children is prevented from working with children again – even if they have not been convicted of a criminal offence."
The Parent Checklist will be distributed to primary school children through local authorities. Copies will also be distributed to the main youth and children's organisations and other relevant bodies.