1. ITV Report

Reports of neglect to NSPCC Helpline reach record numbers

Reports of neglect have reached record numbers Credit: PA

The NSPCC refers an average of 18 reports of child neglect every week to police and social services in the North East & Cumbria.

In 2016/17 the NSPCC Helpline dealt with 927 reports in this way following calls or emails from concerned adults - the highest number the charity has ever had to handle from the region - up 128% from 2011-12.

In addition there has been over the past five years a total of 507 contacts where advice was provided about a child possibly facing neglect in the North East & Cumbria.

UK-wide, the NSPCC Helpline made 16,882 referrals to children’s services or the police in 2016/17, equivalent to 46 a day.

Neglect happens when a child’s needs aren’t met and is down to several reasons; they range from parents not having the skills, support or funds, to having mental health issues.

Common signs and symptoms adults may notice in a child who is being neglected include:

  • Poor appearance and hygiene, they may be smelly or have unwashed clothes
  • Living in an unsuitable home environment for example dog mess being left or not having any heating
  • Left alone for a long time
  • Untreated injuries, medical and dental issues; they may have skin sores, rashes, flea bites, scabies or ringworm
  • Poor language, communication or social skills
  • Seem hungry or turn up to school without having breakfast or any lunch money

Neglect can have severe and long-lasting consequences for children, and can also be an indicator of other forms of abuse.

This is why it is so important for anyone suspecting a child of being neglected to contact the NSPCC Helpline, so we can alert the authorities to quickly step in and help those in need.

At the same time, 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."

– Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the NSPCC