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Last updated: 02.12.19

Safeguarding Children Legislation in England

What are the current Safeguarding Children Legislation in the U.K?

In the UK, we have pieces of safeguarding children legislation and guidance that are relevant across the nation, but we also have pieces that are country-specific. Here we list and summarise the pieces that are specific to England. To find other country-specific legislation, please select the relevant country: Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. To find the list of pieces that are relevant across the UK, select here.


Children and Social Work Act 2017

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 defined a ‘safeguarding partner’ as being the local authority, whose responsibility it is to agree on how they will co-ordinate their safeguarding services; to act as a strategic leadership group in supporting and engaging others; and to implement local and national learning from serious child safeguarding incidents. Local authorities will be required to promote educational attainment of children who have been adopted to in other long-term arrangements.

Link: Children and Social Work Act 2017


Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 makes female genital mutilation (FGM) a criminal offence, and anyone assisting with the procedure faces prosecution. The act has been amended by the Series Crime Act 2015. Section 72 of the Act makes anyone who has responsibility for a girl that has been subjected to FGM liable for their abuse, whilst Section 71 of the Act prohibits the publication of any information that would be likely to lead to the identification of a person that has been the victim of this abuse.

Link: Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003

Link: Amendments to the Act under the Serious Crime Act 2015


Mandatory Reporting of Female Genital Mutilation (Home Office) 2015

Mandatory Reporting of Female Genital Mutilation 2015 outlines mandatory reporting guidelines for reporting and managing cases of female genital mutilation for all professionals working with and coming into contact with children and young adults.

Link: Mandatory Reporting of Female Genital Mutilation (Home Office) 2015


Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 provides key statutory guidance for schools and college to promote effective safeguarding and child protection procedures. It also sets out the legal duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18 in schools and colleges.

Link: Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018


Revised Prevent Duty Guidance for: England and Wales 2019

The Revised Prevent Duty Guidance 2019 offers statutory guidance outlining how the Prevent Duty can be applied effectively. This includes guidance around training requirements.

Link: Prevent Duty Guidance


The Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016

The Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 seeks to reduce the number of families and children living in the UK today by outlining how the government seeks to define, measure and address child poverty in the UK, and focusing on tackling worklessness, improving educational attainment and supporting ‘troubled’ families.

Link: Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016


What to Do if You’re Worried a Child is Being Abused – Advice for Practitioners (HM Government) 2015

What to Do if You’re Worried a Child is Being Abused 2015 constitutes non-statutory guidance produced to assist practitioners to identify and respond to child neglect appropriately.

Link: What to Do if You’re Worried a Child is Being Abused – Advice for Practitioners


Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018)

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) consists of national statutory guidance advocating for a child-centred approach to safeguarding. It outlines the process for managing child protection cases and child protection plans, the lines of responsibility for safeguarding and children protection, and the processes for (unexpected) child death reviews.

Link: Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018

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