Protection Orders

If you assess a child and believe that they might be at significant harm, then there are various protection orders present. These enable the local authority to take over the care of the child and give that authority parental responsibility. The doctor is obliged to report any suspicion of child abuse to social services at the local authority.

Emergency Protection Order EPO) if there is time:

  • Lasts 8 days (renewable for a further 7 days)
  • Applied to the Magistrates Court by anyone who then gains parental responsibility (usually local authority)
  • To prevent significant harm and/allow investigation, including medical and psychiatric examination

Police (PPO) if this is urgent:

  • 72 hours (not renewable)
  • Police officer makes decision as EPO's function

Child Assessment Order (CAO) if child is not at immediate risk:

  • Lasts 7 days (not renewable)
  • Applied to Magistrates Court (by Local Authority or NSPCC)
  • Non-urgent medical, social or other investigation. Mostly used when there is suspicion of harm but lack of evidence.
  • Wheeler R.(2006) Gillick or Fraser? A plea for consistency over competence in children: Gillick and Fraser are not interchangeable. British Medical Journal , 332 (8 April): 807.
  • Gillick v West Norfolk & Wisbech Area Health Authority [1985] UKHL 7 (17 October 1985) from the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) website.
  • Regina v howard (1965) Lord parker C.J.
  • Sexual Offences Act 2003