Shock rise in reports of neglect

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The NSPCC is warning that a sharp increase in reports of neglect will place additional pressure on already stretched children’s services.

From April 2011 to March 2012, NSPCC counsellors on the 24-hour helpline answered 1,888 calls from the South East and out of those from West Sussex, 101 were so serious that police or children’s services had to be involved.

One West Sussex caller reported a six-year-old child whose mother, who was a heavy drinker and smoked marijuana, would often leave the child home alone. The caller said the child was not fed well and would ask others for food.

South East head of services Julie Cole said: “The NSPCC is working closely with professionals and local government across the UK to find out the best ways to identify and tackle neglect before it ruins children’s lives and we want the public to keep raising the alarm so families can be supported to prevent more children suffering the devastating consequences of neglect.

“Obviously if families will not or cannot improve, children must be protected and taken into care, but our experience shows that with the right support many families can improve their behaviour.”

Anyone who thinks a child is being neglected should call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, email help@nspcc.org.uk or report online at www.nspcc.org.uk/helpline or contact your local authority children’s service.