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CHILDREN 1ST is a Scottish charity which aims to give every child in Scotlandmarker a safe and secure childhood. Also known as the Royal Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (RSSPCC), CHILDREN 1ST supports families under stress, protects children from harm and neglect, promotes children’s rights and helps children recover from abuse.


The RSSPCC has its origins in the anti cruelty movement that grew up in America in the 19th Century. Following a landmark law suit, in which the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animalsmarker took a case under animal cruelty legislation against two New Yorkers for abusing an eight year old child, Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children sprung up on both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1884 it was beginning to be understood that there was a considerable amount of abuse to children being perpetrated on children in the UK. To counter this the first Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was established in Londonmarker. Following on from this creation in Englandmarker branches began to be set up throughout Scotlandmarker and in 1889, the Glasgowmarker and Edinburghmarker branches joined to form the Scottish National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

In the same year, the first Act of Parliament for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was passed.

The NSPCC, also began to come into existence around this time and now operates in England, Walesmarker and Northern Irelandmarker. Although the two charities are completely separate organisations, they work together to improve the lives of children and families throughout the UK.

Name change

In 1921 the Scottish National Society received Royal Charter and became the Royal Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (RSSPCC).

In its early incarnation the society was set up to rescue children living rough and begging on the streets, in later years the Society became better known for investigating child abuse and neglect.

In 1968 new legislation gave responsibility for investigating child abuse to local authority social work departments. As a result, the role of RSSPCC changed. However, it was some years before the charity changed its name to reflect this change in role, adopting the campaigning name CHILDREN 1ST in 1995.

Children and Family Services

Today, CHILDREN 1ST provides 41 services in 23 local authority areas as well as six national services including ParentLine Scotland (0808 800 2222) which is the free, national telephone helpline for parents and carers. Since April 2007, CHILDREN 1ST has operated ChildLine Scotland on behalf of the NSPCC.

CHILDREN 1ST has pioneered the use of the Family Group Conference in Scotland, and also provides a befriending service “Bfriends”, several local family support services, a number of abuse and trauma recovery services across Scotland, and Child Protection in Sport.


CHILDREN 1ST also campaigns and lobbies on behalf of children and young people in Scotland. The campaigning priorities of CHILDREN 1ST build on the work of its services. The organisation is part of campaigning coalitions, including Children Are Unbeatable!, which campaigns for an end to physical punishment, and Justice for Children, which campaigns for better conditions for children giving evidence in court.

Kilts for Kids

Kilts for Kids Day is an annual national fundraising event, held on the Friday nearest St Andrew’s Day (30 November), to raise money for CHILDREN 1ST. The first Kilts for Kids Day took place on Friday 28 November 2008, and the event was launched in Glasgowmarker on the 19th September 2008 with the support of media personality Kaye Adams, and comedians Karen Dunbar and Sanjeev Singh Kohli. On Kilts for Kids Day, everyone is encouraged to do something that they would not usually do, such as wearing kilts or tartan, or organising a "kiltaoke" – singing Scottish songs in kilts.



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