Proposals for the creation of an Offence of Wilful Neglect or Ill-treatment with regard to services for Children under the age of 18 - Further Engagement

Closed 28 Oct 2015

Opened 16 Sep 2015

Feedback updated 6 May 2016

We asked

We consulted on the 'Proposals for the creation of an Offence of Wilful Neglect or Ill-treatment with regard to services for Childer under eh age of 18'.

You said

The consultation responses received made it clear that the respondents were highly committed to the principles of offering children the best protection possible from abuse or neglect. However, it was also clear that the respondents had very serious concerns about the proposals outlined in the consultation paper.

Respondents highlighted various issues in relation to the rationale for introducing the proposed offence, the relationship between the proposed offence and existing legislation, the possible unintended consequence of introducing the proposed offence, and the scope of the proposed offence.

We did

The Scottish Government values the input and expertise of its partners in this area, and is committed to working collaboratively with them to drive improvement in child protection in Scotland. To that end, we have considered their concerns and acknowledged their validity. For this reason, the Scottish Government no longer considers that including children’s services within the scope of Part 3 of the Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Bill, is the best way to protect children from wilful neglect or ill-treatment, at this time. Instead, the Scottish Government intends to address neglect more widely, as part of an Improvement Programme announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning on 25 February 2016.

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


This consultation outlines and invites views on the Scottish Government’s proposals for a new criminal offence of ill-treatment or wilful neglect with regard to services for children. It also seeks views on what services should be included.

These proposals have been developed within the context of Scottish Ministers’ commitment to promoting and fulfilling the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

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What happens next

The Scottish Government has now published a response to this consultation, which can be read here:



  • Children and Families