Child Centred Approach

23.1 MAPPA agencies need to take a different approach when managing children. Without dismissing the risk of potential harm to others that the child poses, the Children Act requires them to discharge their functions having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and MAPPA must reflect this. Children involved in criminal activity must be seen as vulnerable children in their own right and not just as offenders. Many children who pose a risk to others have themselves experienced criminal offences, exploitation and abuse. It is important that vulnerable children are identified, safeguarded and supported for as long as they need. Agencies should also have regard for their role in helping the child to create a new pro-social identity and balance risk management actions with those which will support the child to desist from further offending.

23.2 A child is defined as anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. In particular:

"The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, is a member of the armed forces, is in hospital or in custody in the secure estate does not change their status or entitlement to services or protection."[1]

1. Safeguarding Children Act (1989) and (2004), and the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006). [back]