Preventing child neglect in the UK: what makes services accessible to children and families?

Date: 26th March 2014
Category: Disability, Basic Health and Welfare

This annual review by Action for Children in partnership with the University of Stirling considers barriers to seeking services in cases where there is concern about neglect and sets out practice recommendations.

This is Action for Children's third annual review of child neglect in the UK, in partnership with the University of Stirling. More than 5,000 children, young people, parents, members of the public and professionals were asked about neglect and what makes services accessible to children and families. The researchers also spoke to children and parents who engage with these services about help seeking behaviour.

The review found that:

  • 73% of UK children know another child who is suffering from neglect
  • 94% of the public agree people should do something when they are worried about a child but 45% want more information on where to get help
  • Since 2011, around a third of professionals have felt powerless to intervene when they have concerns about child neglect
  • 35% of professionals say Government spending cuts have made it more difficult to intervene in cases of child neglect. In particular, 65% of social workers said cuts impeded their ability to intervene in cases.

The research concludes that 'it is unacceptable that child neglect persists... Our evidence shows what needs to be done. To drive change, a strategic, systematic and concerted response is needed.'