Children and Young Persons Act 1933

Children Act 1989

  1. Paramountcy principle means that a child’s welfare is paramount when making any decisions about a child’s upbringing.
  2. The court must also ascertain the wishes and feelings of the child and shall not make an Order unless this is “better for the child than making no Order at all” (section 1). Every effort should be made to preserve the child’s home and family links.
  3. It introduced the concept of parental responsibility which is defined as “the rights, duties, powers and responsibilities which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property” (section 3).
  4. Charges local authorities with the “duty to investigate … if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives, or is found, in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm” (section 47)
  5. Local authorities are also charged with a duty to provide “services for children in need, their families and others” (section 17)
  6. Section 31 of the Children Act 1989 that sets out the NSPCC’s “authorised person status” which means the NSPCC has the power to apply directly for a court order if it believes a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.
  7. Harm is ill-treatment (including sexual abuse and nonphysical forms of ill-treatment) or the impairment of health (physical or mental) or development (physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural) (section 31).


Children (Scotland) Act 1995

Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995

Sex Offenders Act 1997

Human Rights Act 1998

Children’s Commissioner for Wales Act 2001

Adoption and Children Act 2002

Education Act 2002

Sexual Offences Act 2003

Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003

The Commissioner for Children and Young People (Northern Ireland) Order 2003

Commissioner for Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2003

Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004

  1. creating a new offence of causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable adult. The offence establishes a new criminal responsibility for members of a household where they know that a child or vulnerable adult is at significant risk of serious harm
  2. Post 2012 Amendment offence to include “causing or allowing child or vulnerable adult to suffer serious physical

Children Act 2004

  1. Sets out process for integrating services to children
  2. Creates post of child commissioner in England
  3. Appoint Director of children’s services and election of members
  4. Puts Local Safeguarding Children Boards on a statutory footing (replacing the non-statutory Area Child Protection Committees) and gives them functions of investigation and review (section 14), which they use to review all child deaths in their area.
  5. Section 58 of the Children Act 2004 updates the legislation on physical punishment. It limits the use of the defence of reasonable punishment so that it can no longer be used when people are charged with the offences against a child of wounding, actual or grievous bodily harm or cruelty


Safeguarding children: working together under the Children Act 2004

Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

Children and Adoption Act 2006

  1. Gives courts more flexible powers to facilitate child contact and enforce contact orders when separated parents are in dispute.

Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007

Forced Marriage Act (Civil Protection) 2007

Children and Young Persons Act 2008

  1. to provide high quality care and services for children in care. It covers England and Wales (in part) and also places a duty on registrars to notify the Local Safeguarding Children Board of all child deaths.

Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008

Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008

Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009

Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009

Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009

Safeguarding Board Act (Northern Ireland) 2011

Education Act 2011

Protection of Freedoms Act 2012