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Disabled Children and Child Protection in Scotland: An investigation into the relationship between professional practice, child protection and disability

DescriptionIn March 2013 the Scottish Government appointed researchers from the University of Edinburgh/NSPCC Child Protection Research Centre and the University of Strathclyde, School of Social Work and Social Policy, to investigate the relationship between disabled children and child protection practice.
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateApril 07, 2014


ISBN 978 1 78412 350 5
ISSN 0950 2254
DPPAS 26396

This document is also available in pdf format (1.6MB)



Executive Summary

1. Introduction

2. Terminology and Definitions

3. The Research Context

3.1 Disabled children and abuse
3.2 Disabled Children and Child Protection Services
3.3 The Policy Context

4. Methods

4.1 Aims and Research Questions
4.2 Sampling, Recruitment and Participants
4.3 In-Depth Interviews with Participants
4.4 Focus Groups
4.5 Case Studies
4.6 Modelling Complex Interventions
4.7 Ethics
4.8 Findings

5. Theme One: The Child at the Centre

5.1 Child Centredness
5.2 Impairment Effects
5.3 Communicating with Disabled Children
5.4 Child Agency
5.5 Parents
5.6 The Invisible Child
5.7 Summary of Theme

6. Theme Two: Practice Issues (Muddling Through)

6.1 Confidence and Fear Culture
6.2 Training, Experience and Workload
6.3 Children's Disability Teams
6.4 Thresholds
6.5 Summary of Theme

7. Theme Three: Intergency Working

7.1 Benefits of Interagency Working
7.2 Information sharing and Co-Ordination
7.3 The Criminal Justice System
7.4 Summary of Theme

8. Discussion

8.1 Where is the Child in Child Protection
8.2 Thresholds for Disabled Children: Higher, Lower or the Same?
8.3 Enablers and Barriers: Are we Getting it Right for Every Child?
8.4 Reflecting on Practice and Learning from Case Examples: A Cause for Concern
8.5 Revisiting the National Child Protection Guidance for Scotland in Light of Findings from this Study: Where do we go Next?

9. Additional Recommendations

10. Conclusion