What is Neglect

Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child’s basic needs and is the most common form of child abuse. A child may be left hungry or dirty, without adequate clothing, shelter, supervision, medical or health care. A child may be put in danger or not protected from physical or emotional harm. They may not get the love, care and attention they need from their parents. A child who’s neglected will often suffer from other abuse as well. Neglect is dangerous and can cause serious, long-term damage – even death.

The persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.

Types of Neglect

Neglect can be a lot of different things, which can make it hard to spot. But broadly speaking, there are 4 types of neglect.

  • Physical neglect
    A child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing or shelter, are not met or they aren’t properly supervised or kept safe.
  • Educational neglect
    A parent doesn’t ensure their child is given an education.
  • Emotional neglect
    A child doesn’t get the nurture and stimulation they need. This could be through ignoring, humiliating, intimidating or isolating them.
  • Medical neglect
    A child isn’t given proper health care. This includes dental care and refusing or ignoring medical recommendations.

Child Neglect is a complex and challenging area of work for safeguarding practitioners. Research and learning from Serious Case Reviews tell us that neglect is multi-faceted and requires a robust multi-agency response in order that we tackle it effectively.

On this page you’ll find resources and tools which support effective practice in safeguarding.

Neglect 7 Minute Briefing

Neglect Resource Pack

Tools for assessing neglect

The Graded Care Profile (GCP) equips professionals to work with families in identifying the presence and nature of neglect within a family. The GCP is designed to be used by any professional in any agency working with a family where there is a concern about the care of the children. It is relevant to Health Professionals, Early Help, Education, Think Family and Children Social Care.

Instead of giving a diagnosis of neglect, it defines the care showing both strengths and weaknesses.

Additional Resources

The Cardiff University, Department of Child Health and NSPCC have produced Core-Info leaflets on how neglect and emotional abuse affects children aged;