Child protection in Northern Ireland
Legislation, policy and guidance

 

The Northern Ireland Executive government is responsible for child protection in Northern Ireland. They set out policy, legislation and statutory guidance on how the child protection system should work.

 

The Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) co-ordinates, and ensures the effectiveness of, work to protect and promote the welfare of children. The board includes representatives from health, social care, the police, the probation board, youth justice, education, district councils and the NSPCC. The SBNI is responsible for developing policies and procedures to improve how different agencies work together.

 

Legislation

 

The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995
This act provides the legislative framework for Northern Ireland's child protection system. It sets out:

  • parental responsibilities and rights, and
  • duties and powers public authorities have to support children and intervene if there are concerns about a child

 

View The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995

 

Safeguarding Board Act (Northern Ireland) 2011


This act sets out the law for the creation of a new regional Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland and the establishment of five Safeguarding Panels to support the SBNI's work at a Health and Social Care Trust level.

View the Safeguarding Board Act (Northern Ireland) 2011

 

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Northern Ireland) Order 2007
This act sets out measures to prevent unsuitable adults from working with children.

 

View the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Northern Ireland) Order 2007

 

Criminal Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1967
This act includes measures for failing to disclose an arrestable offence to the police.


View the Criminal Law Act 1967

 

Policy and guidance

 

Our children and young people our pledge: a ten year strategy for children and young people in Northern Ireland 2006-2016

 

Our children and young people: our pledge: a ten year strategy for children and young people in Northern Ireland 2006-2016 says children should:

  • be living in a society which respects their rights
  • be healthy
  • enjoy learning and achieving
  • have safety and stability
  • have economic and environmental well being
  • be contributing positively.

 

(Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. Northern Ireland, 2006)

 

Download Our children and young people: our pledge: a ten year strategy for children and young people in Northern Ireland 2006-2016

 

Our children and young people our shared responsibility: inspection of child protection services in Northern Ireland: overview report

 

Between 2004 and 2006 there was an inspection of child protection in Northern Ireland. In total the inspection process resulted in 77 regional recommendations and 792 local recommendations. This prompted extensive reform of the child protection system.

 

Co-operating to Safeguard Children (2003)
This guidance was published by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Policy in 2003 to assist the then Area Child Protection Committees to develop strategies, policies and procedures to safeguard children who are assessed to be at risk of significant harm.
(Department of Health, Social Services and Public Policy. Northern Ireland, 2003)


Download Co-operating to safeguard children

 

Area Child Protection Committees' regional policy and procedures 2005
All five Health and Social Care Trusts abide by a single set of child protection procedures outlined in the Area Child Protection Committees' regional policy and procedures 2005. It is based on the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Policy guidance Co-operating to safeguard children (2003).

 

The Social Services Gateway team within each Trust is responsible for investigating any concerns or allegations about children being abused.
(Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. Northern Ireland, 2005)

 

Download Area Child Protection Committees' regional policy and procedures 2005