The Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (RSSPCC) grew out of a series of earlier organisations, the first of which was the Glasgow Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (GSPCC) founded by James Grahame in July 1884 . In 1889 , the GSPCC joined with two Edinburgh based societies to form the Scottish National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (SNSPCC). Following the passing of the Children Act in 1894 the Society in Scotland affiliated with the Society in England, and, in 1895 , changed it’s name to the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children: Scottish Branch. However, problems with the affiliation led to the Society in Scotland resuming its independent status, and in 1907 it reverted to its former Scottish National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children title. The Society continued to develop into a nationwide organisation and in 1922 it was granted a Royal Charter and became the Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
The charity was originally set up to rescue children living rough and begging on the streets but it became better known for its investigation into cruelty and neglect. In the past the Society’s Inspectors, often referred to as the ’Cruelty Man’, investigated cases of abuse and neglect reported by the general public. In 1968, new legislation gave responsibility for investigating child abuse to local authority social work departments. The 1970s saw the Society adapt to take account of the increasing professionalisation of the social care and welfare sector; the accelerating change of emphasis from direct involvement to a role including research and lobbying intensified throughout the 1980s, culminating in the change of name to Children 1st in September 1995 .
In 2002, Children 1st’s aims were to support families under stress, protect children from harm and neglect, help children recover from abuse and promote children’s rights and interests. As well as children’s services, the charity also offered a parent’s support line, produced publications, ran a resource centre and awareness and fundraising campaigns.