Legislation: Child Protection







If you or your organisation provides activities or services to children and families, Children First 2011 advises you that you have a corporate duty and responsibility to safeguard the children in your care.

Children First implementation relates to the implementation of the Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children, and of the Children First Act 2015

All organisations involved with children have an obligation to provide them with the highest possible standard of care in order to promote their well-being and safeguard them from abuse.  Some organisations may also be legally responsible for their failure to provide adequate care and safeguards for children in their care.

Children First Guidance 2017

  • The revised Children First Guidance has been published and it includes the provisions of the Children First Act, 2015 it will come into operation on December 11th, 2017.

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 TUSLA, 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 TUSLA.  Contact them on: 076 6958400
  • 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 TUSLA, 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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