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.
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.