Child protection and criminal justice

Key points

Child Protection is a core principle for Criminal Justice staff: it is essential that there is effective communication between criminal justice and Care, Learning & Wellbeing, Children Services staff about children who may be in need of care and protection and individuals who may pose a risk to their own or other children – perpetrators of domestic violence and individuals who have committed offences against children.


MAPPA – Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements

The Management of Offenders (Scotland) Act 2005 placed by duty on ‘responsible authorities’ – police, local authorities, and the Scottish Prison Service to put joint arrangements in place for the assessment and management of risk posed by sex offenders and violent offenders.

Other agencies – such as voluntary organisations working with offenders, and housing providers, as the Scottish Government specifies – have a ‘duty to co-operate’ with other agencies and work collaboratively with the responsible authorities.

Within the offenders managed by the MAPPA process are offenders who have committed offences against children, or who may pose a risk to children because of the nature of their offences.

There are three categories of offenders managed by the MAPPA process:

  1. Registered Sex Offenders
  2. Violent and other offenders who are deemed to pose a risk serious harm
  3. Restricted patients or mentally disordered offenders, who are also sexual or violent offenders and fall within categories 1-3

There are three levels of management:

Level 1 – the risks are judged to be such that they can be managed by a single agency

Level 2 – Inter-agency management – the level of risk and other factors is such that the active involvement of more that one agency is required

Level 3 – Multi-agency Public Protection Panels – The risk is judged to be high or very high to the extent that the case requires the involvement and the close co-operation of senior managers from the agencies involved.

Each of the eight criminal justice authorities in Scotland has a MAPPA co-ordinator who receives notification of the relevant offenders and co-ordinates arrangements. 

In South Ayrshire MAPPA meetings take place on a monthly basis. Category 2 and 3 offenders are discussed. A designated Care, Learning & Wellbeing, Children Services Team Leader attends the meeting.


How to do it

The team leader is responsible for:

      • Referring children who may be at risk (from the offenders discussed) for initial assessment or child protection investigation to the Children and Families Team
      • Contributing information from the Children and Families Team concerning children about whom there are concerns
      • Sharing relevant information about offenders and in relation to concerns about children with Children and Families staff involved with the children and their families.