A report by the charity Action for Children found that half of social workers and a third of police officers felt they were unable to get involved in suspected cases of poor care by parents.

Four in 10 social workers said the threshold was too high before they could act to help at-risk children while half blamed a lack of resources for their inability to help.

Eighty per cent fear cuts to public services will make it even more difficult to intervene and prevent children being neglected by parents who may be drug addicts or alcoholics, who may have mental health problems or simply be too poor to provide for their families.

Overall, 81 per cent of the 2,174 professionals questioned by the University of Stirling said they suspected children they encountered were being neglected, up slightly on the 78 per cent figure recorded in 2009.

Half of the primary school staff surveyed said they wanted to be able to report “less serious suspicions” before problems at a pupil’s home became worse, with teachers reportedly suffering sleepless nights as they worry about children in their care.

More details can be found here.