Neglect is where a child is not being looked after properly. This can include not getting enough to eat or being left alone in dangerous situations. Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic and essential needs.
Children need adequate food, water, shelter, warmth, protection and health care and they need their carers to be attentive, dependable and kind. If a child does not have a safe and stable home, this is neglect.
There are many signs that may indicate neglect; if your common sense and instincts tell you that something is wrong then you should take action.
Children may be neglected because they come from disadvantaged backgrounds, although most children from such backgrounds are well-cared-for. A child’s circumstances may also make them more vulnerable to neglect, such as children who are in care or seeking asylum.
Neglect can have a debilitating and long-lasting effect on a child’s physical wellbeing, and on their mental, emotional and behavioural development. In some cases the effects can cause permanent disabilities and, in severe cases death.
If you think a child is in immediate danger, contact the police on 999, or call the Torbay Safeguarding Hub on 01803 208100, or the Devon MASH on 0345 155 1071 without delay.
Deciding if a child is neglected can be very hard – even for a trained worker – and the Devon and Torbay Safeguarding Children Boards have adopted a tool ‘The Graded Care Profile (GCP)’ to assess neglect.
Download this poster by the TSCB to raise awareness of neglect in your workplace.