Legislation: Child Protection







Children First: National Guidance for the Protection & Welfare of Children 2011 

Summary Guidance

  • Children should be protected from abuse and neglect.
  • The welfare and protection of children is of paramount importance.
  • Everyone has a responsibility for the welfare and protection of children.
  • If you are concerned about a child, you should report that concern without delay to the Child Welfare and Protection Services of the HSE, which has statutory responsibility to protect children.
  • You can report your concern in person, by telephone or in writing.
  • Before deciding whether or not to make a formal report, you may wish to discuss your concerns with the Child Welfare and Protection Services of the HSE.
    • Wicklow Town: (0404) 60800;
    •  Bray: (01) 274 4180,(01) 274 4100;
    •  Delgany: (01) 2871482
  • If it is an emergency and you think a child is in immediate danger and you cannot get in contact with the Child Welfare and Protection Services of the HSE, you should contact the Gardaí at any Garda station.

Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse, (1998)

This is relevant if you should realise that a child in your service is suffering abuse; you have documented evidence of this – whether it is neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse – and the family have failed to respond to your interventions.

The main provisions of this Act are:

  • The provision of immunity from civil liability to any person who reports child abuse ‘reasonably and in good faith’.
  • The provision of significant protections for employees who report child abuse.
  • The creation of a new offence of false reporting of child abuse when a person makes a report of child abuse to the appropriate authorities ‘knowing that statement to be false’.  This is a new criminal offence designed to protect innocent people from malicious reports.

Note: Persons reporting abuse in good faith and in the child’s best interests may also be protected under common law, using ‘qualified privilege’. (Children First, 2009)

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