15 Aug 2012
Figures released by the NSPCC show that the number of calls made to their helpline about neglect have doubled in the last two years reaching record levels.
The children’s charity warns that the dramatic increase will mean that already stretched children’s services will come under more pressure. The charity published its findings in its Helpline Highlight report.
More than 12,000 people contacted NSPCC counsellors between April 2011 and March 2012 with concerns about a child suffering from neglect. Seventy-one per cent of these cases were referred to the police or children’s services.
According to the report, most people waited a lot longer to report a suspected case of neglect compared to cases of abuse, leaving vulnerable children to suffer for longer and for the impacts to become more damaging. Yet the NSPCC is more likely to refer neglect cases to the police or children’s service than any other issue.
In response to the findings, NSPCC counsellors explained why neglect cases take so long to be reported and end up more severe: “Often with calls about neglect there are lots of little things which add up, as they have waited so long. And the things they have seen and witnessed directly are more tangible so it allows referrals to be made.”
Common examples of neglect include:
Helpline counsellors found that these issues frequently overlapped with many children experiencing more than one type of neglect.
Head of the NSPCC’s neglect programme Dr Ruth Gardner said: “More people than ever are contacting the NSPCC about child neglect. Some of this will be down to the public being more willing to speak out - and this can only be a positive thing – but there is clearly a worrying trend, not just in our figure, but from a range of agencies and bodies. More research is needed on why this sharp increase has occurred.”
Click here to access a full copy of the NSPCC helpline report.