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UK 'way behind rest of the world' on protecting children

A charity helping vulnerable and neglected children has welcomed proposals for a new 'Cinderella Law', which would make emotional cruelty to children a criminal offence.

Helen Donohoe of Action for Children told ITV News the move was welcome as the UK's law in this area is currently "way behind the rest of the world".

MP: 'Not just the criminal law that needs to change'

Greater awareness, integration of care services and improved training will help combat emotional abuse suffered by children, a Conservative MP has told Daybreak.

Robert Buckland said "it was not just the criminal law that needs to change" if children who are starved of love and affection are to be helped by social services.

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Cinderella Law a 'monumental step forward'

Changes to the child neglect laws that will make “emotional cruelty” a crime for the first time, alongside physical or sexual abuse have been praised by charity leaders.

Action for Children's chief executive Sir Tony Hawkhead said: "This is a monumental step forward for thousands of children who we know suffer from emotional abuse and countless others whose desperate situations have yet to come to light.

"I've met children who have been scapegoated in their families, constantly humiliated and made to feel unloved. The impact is devastating and can lead to life-long mental health problems and, in some cases, suicide.

'Cinderella Law' to stop emotional child abuse

A girl crying in with stuffed animal Credit: PA Wire

Adults who commit acts of emotional cruelty against children in their care will face the same threat of jail as those guilty of physical neglect, under new laws being considered by ministers.

The Government will introduce the change to child neglect laws in the Queen's Speech in June, the Daily Telegraph said.

The move follows a campaign to change the law in England and Wales, led by charity Action for Children and MPs from all three main parties in Westminster.

Rise in child neglect worries NSPCC

A record number of calls about child neglect to the NSPCC last year reveal a "worrying trend", the charity has warned.

New figures show that between April 2011 and March 2012 the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) counsellors dealt with over 12,000 contacts about neglect from the public - the biggest number of reports about the subject since the helpline was launched.

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