Huge rise in UK child neglect prompts call for urgent action

From The Guardian

Reports of child neglect in the UK have risen by more than 60% in the last five years with nearly nine in 10 calls proving serious enough to be referred to social services or the police.

Nearly 19,500 calls reporting child neglect were dealt with by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in the last 12 months. The charity said a growing number of callers were concerned about children, some under the age of five, being left at home unsupervised by parents struggling with alcohol and drug use.

However, it warned the true scale of the problem could be “much greater” and urged the government to commission a national study to measure the extent of the problem.

The NSPCC chief executive, Peter Wanless, said: “Neglect can have severe and long-lasting consequences for children, and can also be an indicator of other forms of abuse … It is vital we understand the true nature and scale of child neglect in the UK so we can collectively tackle the fundamental causes. Therefore, a government-commissioned, nationwide prevalence study on child abuse and neglect needs to be conducted, and sooner rather than later.”

According to the NSPCC, child neglect was mentioned in more than a quarter of calls to its helpline last year. The charity received 19,448 reports of child neglect in 2016-17, compared with 12,110 in 2011-12 – a 61% increase.

For more information go to the Guardian

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