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Between April 1, 1993 and March 31, 1994, some 7,500 children in Scotland were referred to social work departments ...
Between April 1, 1993 and March 31, 1994, some 7,500 children in Scotland were referred to social work departments as being in need of protection, according to a statistical bulletin published today by the social work services group of the Scottish Office. Of these 53 per cent were girls.

The bulletin is the outcome of a completely new system of management information and represents the first overview of key activities in child protection.

The other main findings are:

- There were 4,187 referrals in Scotland during 1993-94 where the source of referral was known. Twenty one per cent of referrals were investigated following information from the child involved, and a further 30 per cent from parents and other relatives.

- The age groups of children involved in child protection cases were evenly spread. Thirty two per cent were 0-4, 36 per cent were 5-10, 30 per cent were 11-15 and two per cent were 16+.

- Children referred to social work departments are protected by interim measures. These measures once taken alleviate the risk to each child. Non-statutory social work support was provided to 32 per cent of children investigated.

- 2,963 referrals went to case conference in Scotland. Case conferences evaluate whether or not the child requires an inter-agency protection plan to eliminate unacceptable levels of risk. Eighty per cent of police, teachers and school doctors attended case conferences to which they were invited.

- 1,880 children were placed on the child protection register in Scotland - 45 per cent for physical injury, 25 per cent for sexual abuse, 19 per cent for physical neglect, nine per cent for emotional abuse and two per cent for failure to thrive. Registers are part of the arrangements for the care and protection of the child through an inter-agency plan.

- The household composition of registered children were 41 per cent both birth parents, 24 per cent single mother, 11 per cent birth mother and partner and six per cent birth mother and stepfather.

- In 70 per cent of cases parents were suspected of being the main perpetrator - 40 per cent birth fathers and 30 per cent birth mothers.

- In cases of sexual abuse 97 per cent involved a male perpetrator: in 41 per cent he was the birth father; in 23 per cent another relative; and in 18 per cent the birth mother's partner.

- Of children whose registration was reviewed, 41 per cent were deregistered: in most cases (57 per cent) the home situation was judged to have improved.

- In Scotland there were 2,666 children on child protection registers as at March 31, 1994.

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