Reports of neglect to the NSPCC Helpline in Wales have reached record numbers.
According to the charities latest figures, The NSPCC refers an average of 16 reports of child neglect every week to Welsh police and social services.
The helpline dealt with 804 reports in 2016/17 from concerned adults - an 80% rise in the space of five years, up from 447 in 2011/12.
Neglect means that a child’s needs for safety, physical care and love are not being met to an extent that could cause them serious or lasting harm.
UK-wide, the NSPCC made 16,882 referrals to children’s services or the police in 2016/17, equivalent to 46 a day.
A growing number of people contacting the NSPCC Helpline described parents as having a problem with alcohol and drugs, with some of them regularly leaving their children unsupervised so they could go drinking with friends.
One neighbour that called the helpline said:
A family member of a suspected neglected child said:
NSPCC Cymru is calling for neglectful parenting to be a key priority for safeguarding boards, public service boards and government.
Common signs and symptoms adults may notice in a child who is being neglected include:
- The child may be aggressive and hostile, prone to angry outbursts or lashing out towards others
- Poor appearance and hygiene, they may be smelly or have unwashed clothes
- Poor language, communication or social skills
- Seem hungry or turn up to school without having breakfast or any lunch money
Des Mannion, head of NSPCC Wales, said: