Child neglect has been cited as the most frequent reason for child protection referrals, with as many as one in ten children across the UK suffering from neglect. And Alex Cunningham has this week voiced his support for calls on the Government to develop an effective strategy to tackle child neglect.
Action for Children’s report, Child Neglect: The Scandal That Never Breaks, found that almost three-quarters of children in the UK know another child who is showing signs of neglect and Stockton North’s Labour MP is backing the report’s request for the Government to take urgent action.
The report shows the extent of neglect through the eyes of children and this is the fifth year that Action for Children has published research about neglect, working in partnership with the University of Stirling to undertake reviews of the state of child neglect across the UK and identify the impacts, causes and responses to child neglect.
“Neglect is the most common form of child abuse, yet there is no overarching, strategic approach to child neglect in the UK. It is time for the Government to take a lead in tackling the issue by instigating a joined-up approach to facilitate intervention at the earliest opportunity while heightening awareness of how concerns can be reported.
“Despite the public being increasingly aware of child neglect, too many people do not know where they can go to report their concerns. I was particularly alarmed that Action for Children’s report highlights how, despite children themselves recognising the signs of neglect among their friends and classmates, many remain worried about telling people and are rarely asked about their concerns.
“This is why I am supporting the practical measures set out by Action for Children in an effort to make a real difference to neglected children’s lives.”
Sir Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of Action for Children, said: “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 and completely disregarded by the people who are supposed to love them unconditionally.
“Our research shows that children as young as eight can see it, and thanks to the support of MPs like Alex, we hope to be able to help the Government see it too.”