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Supporting professionals to take action against neglect

Child neglect is cited as a direct cause of one in six deaths and serious injuries in Serious Case Reviews and is a key factor in many more. Neglect is cited as the primary reason for concern for over 40% of children subject to child protection plans. Neglect is a serious child protection issue and is a particularly complex form of abuse resulting in wide-reaching harm to children. Despite this, we have new evidence to suggest child protection professionals do not have a clear sense of the law in relation to neglect and that it is not applied in a consistent way. We also have evidence that cases of neglect are being allowed to continue for too long before social workers decide to begin proceedings to take a child into care.

Between March and September 2012, the NSPCC conducted a comprehensive review of the law in relation to neglect consulting with over 40 professionals (including social workers, family lawyers, barristers, criminal lawyers, local authority lawyers, members of the judiciary, the police and the criminal prosecution service) and hosting workshops with a range of professionals.