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What is child neglect?

Neglect refers to a combination of factors which may develop quickly or over a period of time. It may not always be immediately obvious as everyone has different standards of living.

A child may experience neglect due to the family being in poverty and the carer being unable to provide adequate care for the child. However, neglect may also be inflicted purposely and on only one child in a family.

Long term, sustained neglect is damaging emotionally, socially and educationally and is likely to cause far more developmental delays and medical impairments than any other form of abuse.

Indicators of Neglect:

  • Failure to thrive
  • Constant hunger and/or tiredness, malnutrition, steals food
  • Poor hygiene
  • Frequent accidental injuries and illnesses
  • Untreated medical problems
  • Developmental delays
  • Poor state of clothing
  • Unable to make friends, lack of social relationships
  • Low self esteem
  • Treated differently to other children by their carer
  • Carer appears stressed and unable to cope

If you would like to know more please take a look at our Introduction to Child Protection training course.