Thursday 4 July 2013

Tackling Child Neglect: All it Takes is an Email

Child neglect is the most common form of child abuse in the UK. Neglect can have a severe impact on a child’s well being and development. Neglect takes many forms, including young children being left alone for long periods, being ignored when distressed and lacking parental support to attend school. For some children, the neglect is so severe that they starve to death or die as a result of accidents associated with lack of supervision. 

Neglect doesn’t get as many column inches as other forms of child abuse, but it often has a longterm negative effect on the child’s brain, behavioural and emotional development. As many as one in 10 children suffer from neglect in the UK. Most of these children will not receive the help they need when they need it. 

The law that protects children from neglect is 80 years old and needs updating. The law focuses on the physical consequences of neglect, and does not touch on issues of emotional neglect. Research has shown that children who are emotionally deprived are statistically more likely to develop mental health problems, and are vastly overrepresented in the criminal justice system. This was not known 80 years ago, but it is known now, and the law should be updated to best meet current understanding. 

Social workers and the police, both of whom need to work together on cases of child neglect, both felt that the current law limits the extent of police involvment in cases of non-physical neglect. As the law currently stands, the police are often unable to intervene until physical neglect is apparent.

Action for Children are calling on the government to drag this law into the 21st century. By updating the law to include emotional and developmental neglect, agencies such as the police and social workers will be better able to protect children in need. 

Next Friday (12 July), child neglect is on the agenda in the House of Commons - and it’s really important that your MP is there. One in 10 UK children suffer some form of neglect during their childhood, please ask your MP to attend the debate for these children. It's super easy, all you need to do is send a pre-written email

You can find out more about this campaign by visiting Action for Children’s website

Here's a nice man from Action for Children to tell you more about this campaign:

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