Seventy-three per cent of children know someone who is being neglected by their parents or carers, a new report has claimed.
Charity Action for Children gathered data from interviews with 18,000 people, including 4,000 children. According to the report, titled Child neglect: the scandal that never breaks, only 52 per cent of children worried about the neglect of a friend have spoken to someone about their concerns, and 40 per cent of adults said they wanted more information about who they could speak to if they were worried about a child. Just under a third of professionals said they had felt powerless to act.
An estimated one in ten children are affected by neglect, the charity claims: more than 1.5 million in total. It is the commonest reason for intervention by social services and a feature in 60 per cent of serious case reviews: enquiries held by social services when a child dies from abuse or neglect.
Sir Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of Action for Children, said the government lacked a clear strategy for tackling the issue:
“Child neglect is rife. Evidence points to an average of more than one child on every street in the country who is suffering from some form of neglect. They are not fed or clothed properly. They consistently miss medical appointments or are absent from school. They are ignored by their parents, left on their own or completely disregarded by the people who are supposed to love them unconditionally. Our research shows that children as young as eight can see it, so why can’t the Government do more?”
The report makes a number of proposals including a web portal, which could be used to report concerns about potential child neglect.
Image credit: D. Sharon Pruitt.