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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 September 2007, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
More children on care registers
A depressed girl
The rise may be due to more willingness to report concerns
The number of children placed on protection registers in Scotland has increased, according to figures.

Government statistics also showed an increase in registrations due to physical and emotional abuse but a fall in registrations of sexual abuse.

The Scottish Government said the rise in registered cases on the previous year may have been due to greater awareness of mistreatment.

This, it said, could be coupled with a greater willingness to report concerns.

Twelve-month figures to the end of March 2007 showed that there were 2,593 children placed on child protection registers, up 13% on last year.

REPORT BREAKDOWN
Total of 2,593 children placed on registers, up 13%
Sexual abuse cases registered down 11%
Registrations for emotional abuse up 26%
Physical neglect cases up 21%

There was a 26% rise in emotionally abused children placed on registers and a 21% increase in registrations resulting from physical neglect.

However, the figures revealed a fall of 11% in sexual abuse cases.

The majority of youngsters involved were aged under 11.

Children and Early Years Minister Adam Ingram said that the Scottish Government was determined to continue improving services for children at risk.

He said: "A number of measures, such as the tough multi-disciplinary HMIE joint child protection service inspections, the Child Protection Reform Programme and the strengthened Child Protection Committees, are helping to improve services for children in need.

'Wider family'

"I believe child protection is everyone's business. Being on the Child Protection Register reduces the risks a child faces by making sure that services work together to meet the child's needs.

"The increased referrals to the register tell us that more people understand this and are taking action to report their concerns, meaning that more children are in a position to get the help they need when they need it."

Anne Houston, chief executive of charity Children 1st, said that the rise in the figures could suggest that society has been getting better at recognising the emotional and physical needs of children.

She said: "Whatever the reason for the rise in the numbers, it is our response that is the critical issue. Families who are struggling need appropriate and accessible support.

"Children 1st provides family support in many areas of Scotland but we know there are gaps in services that need addressed.

"Where support is not enough to keep a child safe, Children 1st would always want to see the wider family being involved in the decision making through, for example, family group conferencing or kinship care.

"The evidence shows that the outcomes for children of this approach are better than public care."


SEE ALSO
Rise in children 'at risk' cases
29 Sep 06 |  Scotland
Child protection drive launched
15 Sep 06 |  Tayside and Central
Scheme to improve abuse services
07 Sep 06 |  Tayside and Central
Family services 'overstretched'
06 Sep 06 |  Scotland

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