The NSPCC has joined forces with three London boroughs to raise awareness of the signs of child neglect and where to find help.
Over the next six months the children’s charity will work Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham Councils with the aim of urging people to take a zero tolerance approach to neglect.
In 2015/16 the NSPCC helpline referred 13 cases of neglect in Westminster to external agencies such as the council and police, compared to 17 in 2014/15.
In Hammersmith and Fulham, the 2015/16 figure was 18, compared to 20 in 2014/15.
Kensington and Chelsea saw less than five cases reported in 2015/16, compared to 10 in 2014/15.
The local authorities will be working with staff at nurseries and children’s centres to ensure youngsters experiencing neglect get access to the help they need to turn their lives around.
The campaign wants people to contact the NSPCC’s helpline if they have any concerns about a child.
The charity welcomes the drop in figures but says there will be many more unreported cases slipping through the net.
Neglect is classed by the NSPCC as: “The ongoing failure to meet a child’s basic needs such as feeding them and clothing them.
"It is the most common form of child abuse with one in ten children experiencing it."
Emma Motherwell, NSPCC local campaigns manager, said: “Preventing neglect is everyone’s responsibility. If we’re all aware of the signs we can get help for children before it has a lasting impact. With help they can recover.
“Neglect can be anything from leaving a child home alone to the very worst cases where a child is denied medical care.
"It can affect any family regardless of background.
“The effects can last into adulthood if help isn’t sought. Neglected children may find it difficult to maintain healthy relationships with other people later in life, including their own children.
Cllr Danny Chalkley, head of children and young people at Westminster City Council, said: “No child should ever experience neglect, and this partnership will mean more children than ever are able to get the help they need.”
According to the NSPCC there are four types of neglect:
- Physical neglect - Failing to provide for a child’s basic needs such as food, clothing or shelter. Failing to adequately supervise a child, or keep them safe
- Educational neglect - Failing to ensure a child receives an education
- Emotional neglect - Failing to meet a child’s needs for nurture and stimulation, perhaps by ignoring, humiliating, intimidating or isolating them
- Medical neglect - Failing to provide appropriate health care, including dental care and refusal of care or ignoring medical recommendations
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