1.5 million children neglected in the UK
Published: 13.02.13A study carried out by the University of Stirling on behalf of the charity Action for Children warns that up to 1.5 million UK children are living in neglect.
The State of Child Neglect in the UK reveals that members of the public calling for more support to report rising concerns has almost doubled in the past three years and that nine out of ten teachers, police officers and social workers are regularly coming into contact with children they suspect are suffering from neglect yet as many as 40 per cent feel powerless to intervene.
The report also found that half of professionals feel there are barriers which make it difficult to intervene in suspected cases of neglect. These include a lack of available services and resources like time and staffing. In addition a third of the general public who had concerns about a child did not tell anyone, mainly because they did not think they had enough evidence or were uncertain it was neglect.
Many professionals feel the increase in cases of neglect is due to deterioration in parenting skills (70 per cent), greater poverty (66 per cent) and more family breakdowns (55 per cent).
Dame Clare Tickell, Chief Executive for Action for Children, said:
"It is of grave concern that one in every ten children could be suffering neglect. With more and more families struggling, vulnerable children are falling through the cracks of a child protection system that is failing some of those who need it most - sometimes with tragic consequences."
Almost 6,000 people including the general public, a range of professionals and 27 local authorities took part in the research.
Action for Children is calling on the Government to introduce a web-portal with a postcode function to enable the public to seek the most appropriate help for children they are worried about in their local area and put measures in place that support professionals to make timely decisions, meaning neglected children receive effective support across all levels of need from the identification of suspected cases to chronic neglect.