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NSPCC issues warning as child neglect up 70% in Kent

PUBLISHED: 08:59 23 August 2017 | UPDATED: 08:59 23 August 2017

Neglected child

Neglected child

Choreograph

The chairty referred 410 cases to the police and children’s services last year

Cases of child neglect in Kent have risen by some 70 per cent, according to new figures.

The NSPCC referred 410 cases to the police and children’s services last year, compared to 241 referrals in 2011/12.

The children’s charity also received 68 calls and emails from people in the county seeking advice about children being neglected.

UK-wide, the NSPCC made 16,882 referrals to children’s services or the police in 2016/17, equivalent to 46 a day.

Child neglect was mentioned in more than a quarter of all calls to the NSPCC Helpline in the last year and charity bosses say the rise shows that more people are willing to speak up about the issue.

Neglect happens when a child’s needs aren’t met and can be attributed to parents not having the skills, support or funds, to having mental health issues.

A growing number of people contacting the NSPCC Helpline also described parents as having a problem with alcohol and drugs, with some of them regularly leaving their children unsupervised so they could go drinking with friends.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC said: “Neglect can have severe and long-lasting consequences for children, and can also be an indicator of other forms of abuse.

“This is why it is so important for anyone suspecting a child of being neglected to contact the NSPCC Helpline, so we can alert the authorities to quickly step in and help those in need.

“At the same time, it is vital we understand the true nature and scale of child neglect in the UK so we can collectively tackle the fundamental causes.

“Therefore, a government commissioned, nationwide prevalence study on child abuse and neglect needs to be conducted, and sooner rather than later.”

The NSPCC supports parents who are on drug or alcohol treatment programmes through their Parents Under Pressure service, providing them with help to develop secure and healthy relationships with their children.

Adults can contact the NSPCC Helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0808 800 5000, or help@nspcc.org.uk

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