There are four possible means of protecting children in an emergency situation:
- Child Assessment Order (section 35 Children’s Hearing (Scotland) Act 2011)
- Child Protection Order (section 37 Children’s Hearing (Scotland) Act 2011)
- In exceptional circumstances if a Sherriff is not available children can be removed to a Place of Safety by a Justice of the Peace or Police Scotland (section 55 / 56 Children’s Hearing (Scotland) Act 2011)
- Exclusion Order (section 76-80 CSA 1995) An Exclusion Order excludes an alleged abuser from the family home. It has the effect of suspending the named person's right of occupancy to the family home. It prevents the person from entering the home without the express permission of the Local Authority which applied for the Order. An Exclusion Order can only be sought by a Local Authority and granted by a Sheriff. The conditions to be met are much the same as a CPO however the additional safeguard the child is that it allows that “the Order would better safeguard the welfare of the child than removing the child from the family home”.
For any of the above to be granted, the condition of “significant harm” must be satisfied. Since this term is not defined in the 2011 Act it will require professional judgements to be made by the applicant and, more crucially, by the Sheriff (or Justice) determining the application, to decide whether or not risk of immediate and significant harm is established