RCPCH Child Protection Committees

These committees are responsible for championing the safeguarding agenda for children and young people. They advise on matters relating to child protection – preventing violence, exploitation and abuse against children.

Child Protection Standing Committee – and updates

Committee Chair (Officer for Child Protection): Professor Andrew Rowland

About the committee

    • Responds to matters when children are vulnerable to exploitation or abuse and ensures that children have a right to protection
    • Encourages policy developments that foster appropriate rights for children, develop preventative services and improve education
    • Liaises and communicates with appropriate organisations and committees to provide advice and response to matters relating to child protection

Updates – November 2023

Here’s our latest summary of child protection activity at the College:

Changes to consent guidance for Child Protection medicals: We have strengthened our guidance on obtaining consent for Child Protection medicals. This will be uploaded to the child protection companion shortly.

Guidelines for Initial Health Assessments: We are currently in the project planning phase of developing a new workstream to create a set of outcomes and standards for Initial Health Assessments. We will be contacting the relevant stakeholders for this work in the coming weeks.

Children seeking asylum and refuge: In October, we provided evidence to the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee in relation to new regulations which would allow the biological age assessment of children seeking asylum and refuge in England. We have regularly spoken out against this policy, due to the lack of specificity in the outcomes data and the potential harms children may incur as a result of this testing. We were pleased to see our evidence cited in the committee’s response, which rightly highlighted significant gaps in the proposed policy. The committee recommended a number of questions are raised in Parliament in relation to the evidence basis for age assessments, the principles of consent and the risks of subjecting children to unnecessary medical procedures as a part of immigration processing. We will now focus our efforts in continuing to brief MPs so that they are fully informed and able to raise these questions as the legislation moves through Parliament.

Survey: Delivering Care for Asylum Seeker and Refugee Populations in the UK 
ReSPOND, an integrated refugee health service based at University College London Hospital, are gathering data on the training needs of clinicians working with children seeking asylum or refuge in the UK. Do you work with this group of children as a part of your role? Share your thoughts via their survey here. The findings will be used to inform the development of an interprofessional education programme for healthcare professionals.

Child Protection Audit: Findings from the Child Protection Audit are due for publication shortly. We will be considering how best to implement these findings at the next Child Protection Standing Committee

Vulnerable Children’s Workforce Strategy: We are currently collaborating with the RCPCH Workforce team to better understand the pressure on the vulnerable children’s workforce, as well as exploring initiatives to support the growth of the safeguarding workforce across the four nations.

Equal Protection for Children in England and Northern Ireland: We are working with external stakeholders to develop a lobbying strategy for the removal of the Reasonable Chastisement defence in law in order to secure equal protection for children in England and Northern Ireland. We look forward to sharing more information about this strategy with you as it develops.

If you would like to get involved or find out more about the committee’s work, contact the Health Policy team on health.policy@rcpch.ac.uk.

To sign up for periodic email updates from this committee, log in to your RCPCH account on the main website. In Your contact preferences, make sure you’ve opted in ‘College updates/professional updates’ and in Personalise your experience, select ‘Child protection’.

Child Protection Subcommittee (Systematic Reviews and Publications)

Committee Chair (Assistant Officer for Child Protection): Dr Emilia Wawrzkowicz

About the committee

The subcommittee oversees the Child Protection Evidence systematic reviews (formally the CORE-Info type of activity) programme of work and provides an oversight for updating the Child Protection Companion.

If you would like to get involved or find out more about the committee’s work, please contact the Research & Evidence team.

Child Protection Subcommittee (Scotland)

Chair: Dr Marianne Cochrane

About the committee

There are differences in the way child protection is managed in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK.

This subcommittee informs the Scottish Committee and the Standing committee on Child Protection matters pertinent to child protection in Scotland. It is a multidisciplinary committee that meets three times a year.

If you would like to get involved or find out more about the committee’s work, please contact Louise Slorance, RCPCH Scotland office.

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