Policy and Campaigns in Scotland

Taking action

Many children and young people in Scotland are suffering because they don’t get help early enough.

This is why we are working with MSPs and Scottish Government Ministers to take action to tackle problems before families reach crisis point.

Disadvantaged young people and employment

The young people we work with may face difficult family relationships, the trauma of a childhood in and out of care, early parenthood, or having nowhere permanent to live.

Others need extra support because of their disability, or because they care for a loved one. They may face a range of practical barriers, such as accessing public transport or owning a bank account. They may also face emotional barriers, such as stress, anxiety or depression, which hinder their ability to enter and stay in the workplace.

The most disadvantaged young people, who often face multiple challenges, need sustained practical, social and emotional support as they take their first – and hardest – steps toward employment.

Child neglect

Action for Children Scotland is supporting the Scottish Government in its review across Child Protection work.

As part of this, we are exploring how to make use of a public health approach to tackle child neglect.

We are delivering a three-year studentship with Stirling University to develop an 'ecological model' to tackle the complexity of child neglect by engaging communities, services, parents and children.

Our services will be involved in piloting innovative approaches

little boy on an ipad

Our research

Action for Children Scotland jointly commissioned research with NSPCC and Research in Practice to look at potential links between neglect and other forms of harm, such as child sexual exploitation.

Our report showed that:

  • There is no direct or straightforward link between neglect, child sexual exploitation, and harmful sexual behaviours. Multiple influences are involved.
  • However, there are a number of ways in which the impacts of neglect interact. For example, substance misuse in adolescence raises the risk of child sexual exploitation.
  • There are gaps in the knowledge base and risks associated with over-simplifying the issues. More research is required.

Influencing policy and legislation

In 2012, Action for Children Scotland, in partnership with the University of Stirling and with support from the Scottish Government, commissioned a report entitled Review of Child Neglect in Scotland.

The report highlighted some of the factors that get in the way of neglected children being identified, including: cultural acceptance of neglect in some areas, overwhelming numbers of neglected children within a context of entrenched poverty, issues being masked by children or members of the extended family and an over-focus on adults at the expense of children.

The Scottish Government’s Review Across Child Protection group has considered our evidence base with Scottish Ministers having now commissioned Stirling University to update the 2012 report.

We are also expecting further announcements in the new year.