Child neglect has hit record heights in Cambridgeshire, say the NSPCC
- Credit: Archant
Child neglect in Cambridgeshire has hit record levels with an adult calling the NSPCC five days out of seven every week, according to latest figures.
The NSPCC says its Helpline dealt with 286 reports following calls or emails from concerned adults – the highest number the charity has ever had to handle in Cambridgeshire.
The figure is up 20 per cent on the previous year.
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.
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“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.
“A Government commissioned, nationwide prevalence study on child abuse and neglect needs to be conducted, and sooner rather than later.”
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One neighbour told Helpline staff: “The children are home alone again; I saw the mother leave the house earlier this morning and it’s past midnight now.
“I’ve seen the children peer through the curtains a few times as if waiting for her.
“She does this every Friday night to go out drinking with her mates.”
UK-wide, the NSPCC made 16,882 referrals to children’s services or the police in the last year - the equivalent of 46 a day.
A growing number of people contacting the NSPCC Helpline described parents having a problem with alcohol and drugs, with some regularly leaving their children unsupervised to go drinking with friends.
However, the NSPCC believes the full scale of the problem could be much greater and is urging the Government to commission a nationwide study to measure the extent of child neglect and abuse in the UK.
Common signs of neglect include:
• Poor appearance and hygiene, they may be smelly or have unwashed clothes.
• Living in an unsuitable home environment for example dog mess being left or not having any heating.
• Left alone for a long time.
• Untreated injuries, medical and dental issues; they may have skin sores, rashes, flea bites, scabies or ringworm.
• Poor language, communication or social skills.
• Seem hungry or turn up to school without having breakfast or lunch money.
• Adults can contact the NSPCC Helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0808 800 5000, or firstname.lastname@example.org