Child neglect has NO HOME HERE
A study carried out on behalf of the NSPCC found that 1 in 10 children in the UK have experienced neglect and that 1 in 5 children have experienced severe maltreatment.*
Shocking isn’t it?
We read horrendous statistics like this, but often we think that these things happen a long way away, in urban, over crowded, inner city locations and “not in my town, village or street.”
Unfortunately the statistics tell a different story and children are suffering closer than you think.
That child you see when you drop the kids of at school every day, who arrives late and alone looking hungry and tired?
The aggressive kid you see at the park sometimes, always unsupervised and without a suitable coat or footwear?
The withdrawn, quiet kid next door whose parent or carer goes out a lot and leaves them home alone, who you hear crying through the wall.
These are all forms of child neglect and North Yorkshire Police is inviting individuals, communities, businesses and organisations across the region to stand up and say ‘Child neglect has NO HOME HERE’ by appealing to them to contact police if they have suspicions that a child is being subjected to neglect.
Child neglect is the most common form of child abuse which led to approximately 26,000 children needing protection from neglect in 2016. **
Neglect is the failure to meet a child’s basic needs – leaving a child hungry, dirty, without adequate clothing or shelter, leaving a child unsupervised for long periods of time or without medical attention if needed.
Neglect also leaves already vulnerable children open to other forms of abuse and exploitation and can lead on to other issues as the child moves into their teenage years, such as running away from the situation at home.
Neglect can cause significant long term harm and can lead to a child experiencing mental and physical issues well into adulthood. By experiencing neglect as a child, the effects can stay with the victim, leading to an inability to form and maintain healthy relationships with their own families and children and can lead to drug and alcohol dependency.
By saying that child neglect has NO HOME HERE and reporting it to police, both current and future suffering could be prevented, that’s why North Yorkshire Police are appealing to the public to come forward and report it.
Signs of child neglect
Whilst not an exhaustive list, and one sign or symptom does not necessarily mean a child is being neglected – if you notice a child exhibiting persistent or multiple signs of the following – dial 101 and pass the information on to the police.
Children who are being neglected may have poor appearance or personal hygiene:
- Be dirty and/or smelly
- Have unwashed clothes
- Inadequate clothing ie; no winter coat or suitable footwear
- Be hungry – turn up at school without having breakfast or with no lunch provision
- In infants and babies – have persistent and untreated nappy rash
They may also have health or development issues, such as;
- Untreated injuries or medical/dental issues
- Repeated accidents due to being left unsupervised
- Recurring illnesses or infections
- Ringworm or fleabites
- Be thin or have a swollen tummy
- Poor muscle tone
- Be failing to thrive ie: faltering weight or growth and not meeting development milestones such as having poor communication or language
They also may be exposed to housing or family issues
- Be living in an unsuitable home environment ie: pet faeces present or no heating
- Be left alone for long and frequent periods of time
If you have any suspicions that a child near you is being neglected, call North Yorkshire Police on 101 and pass on the information. If a child is in immediate danger, dial 999.
Concerns can also be reported to local Children’s Services Teams. For details of how to contact City of York Council’s children’s services visit www.saferchildrenyork.org.uk
And details of how to contact North Yorkshire County Council’s child protection team can be found online at www.northyorks.gov.uk/child-protection
You can also report your concerns to the NSPCC via their helpline 0808 800 5000, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or online athttps://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/report-abuse/
Speaking about the campaign Detective Inspector Shaun Page said:
“Sadly, child neglect happens in almost every town and city across the UK, including here in North Yorkshire.
“Child neglect takes place in many different forms, some more severe than others, however any type of neglect is extremely damaging to a child.
“Neglect often has a devastating impact upon its victims. The effects can be long lasting, either physically or mentally, or both. We need to be doing everything we can to keep children safe and protect them from abuse.
“Please don’t turn a blind eye to child neglect – the police are here to help and we work with a number of different safeguarding agencies to take any necessary action, in order to protect children from neglect.”
Don’t let child neglect hide in your community – it has NO HOME HERE.
*(source: Radford, L. et al. (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today. London: NSPCC)
** (source: Child protection register and plan statistics for all UK nations 2016)