Emergency Protection

Police Protection

Where the police have reasonable cause to believe a child would otherwise suffer significant harm they can remove a child into police protection for a period of 72 hours. The police are required to ascertain the child’s own views, to inform the parents at the earliest opportunity and to notify the local authority to ensure the child is accommodated. Where a senior office is satisfied that the grounds for protection no longer exist the child must be released. In reality, however, police protection is very often followed by an application for an emergency protection order

Emergency Protection Order

The local authority may apply for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) for up to eight days. These applications are made in the family proceedings court before magistrates and the court must be satisfied that such an order is required because there is reasonable cause to believe that a child is likely to suffer significant harm if he or she is not removed to local authority accommodation. The court is also required to consider whether the order is necessary in the best interests of the child and in so doing it must balance the need for protection of the child with the potential damage caused by the trauma of removal from parents or carers. An application for an EPO can be made without notice to the parents but they do have a right to apply to court to have the order discharged. The EPO is usually the first step in the proceedings for a full care order in respect of a child. There is a general acceptance that delay is not ain a child’s interests, and cases are subject to a strict timetable. The court is required to actively manage a case in order to ensure that a final decision on the case is made within 40 weeks. .

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