Adopted children put at 'risk of harm' as records released online

Adopted children are put at ‘significant risk of harm’ as thousands of records are released online

  • Scotland’s People website showed records of adoptions dating back before 2013

Adopted children were put at ‘significant risk of harm’ after thousands of records were released online, it was claimed last night.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) removed the details of adoptions from a genealogy website after an adoptive parent made a complaint.

The Scotland’s People website carried records of adoptions dating back more than a century.

A review is now being carried out into ways records from the Adopted Children’s Register can be viewed.

Scotland’s acting Children and Young People’s Commissioner Nick Hobbs has also raised ‘serious concerns’ over whether the information could breach children’s rights to privacy.

Adopted children were put at ‘significant risk of harm’ after thousands of records were released online, it was claimed last night (stock image)

He said: ‘There’s a significant risk of harm for some children potentially, by people being able to link their current name with their birth name.’

The entries were removed by NRS ‘as a precaution’ after a complaint from a mother who was concerned that her adopted son could be endangered after she found his details online.

The mother, who has not been identified, told the BBC that she was able to find her adopted child’s birth and a reference to him being on the adoption register by carrying out a simple search on the website.

She said: ‘It’s every adoptive parent’s worst nightmare that their child’s adoptive name, which has been carefully shielded through the court process, could be made public.

‘There’s also a massive concern for adults who don’t know they’ve been adopted.’

Records previously available on the site included the names of people who had been adopted between 1909 and 2022.

A spokesperson for National Records of Scotland said: ‘We are currently reviewing the way indexed entries from the Adopted Children Register are presented on the ScotlandsPeople website.

‘NRS has a statutory responsibility to make our registers open and searchable.

‘Relevant entries have been removed as a precautionary measure while we review the way we make this information available.’

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