What is neglect?
Neglect is a complex issue that provides challenges to public health as well as safeguarding. Nationally, neglect is the most common form of maltreatment in England. Neglect affects both boys and girls and occurs throughout childhood and adolescence. Neglect causes great distress to children and leads to poor health, educational and social outcomes in the short and long-term. It is important, therefore, to end any potential cycle of neglect, where this is identified.
Below are some views of young people about neglect:
- ‘It could make people sad. If you’re ignored your entire life and your family doesn’t pay attention, you get sad and frustrated. You need trust. Without trust you’re on a hard road’. (Boy Aged 15)
- Always having the same clothes on; not having a lot of food – always asking for food’ (Boy Aged 14)
DSCB Neglect Strategy
Neglect is challenging for practitioners as it is frequently passive and not always intentional. It is more likely to be a chronic condition than crisis led and this impacts on how agencies respond. It is often combined with other forms of maltreatment. Families often need long term support and professionals may not agree about the threshold for intervention in the absence of a clear cut agreement about what constitutes neglect.
The Devon Safeguarding Children Board has recently published its Neglect Strategy for the period of 2017-2020, which sets out how the partnership will work to prevent, identify and respond to neglect. The strategic priorities set out in the strategy are:
- Children at the Centre
- Working Together
You can download the DSCB Neglect strategy here.
The DSCB has recently completed a Multi-Agency Tabletop Audit on Adolescent Neglect. You can download the report here.
A neglect toolkit will be made available soon.
Rethinking ‘Did Not Attend’
Below is a video animation jointly commissioned by Nottingham City Council, NHS Nottingham City CCG and the NCSCB about what it means when children miss medical appointments. It is a powerful reminder that children do not take themselves to appointments, but have to be brought by their parent or carer, and that missing an appointment might have a serious impact on their wellbeing.