New data released by the NSPCC has revealed that a record number of people are reporting child neglect to the police and social services in Lincolnshire.
The data was revealed in a report conducted by the NSPCC titled, ‘How safe are our Children’, where more than a quarter of all calls to the charity, concerned a neglected child.
It showed that in the period of 2016-17 the NSPCC helpline dealt with 208 reports of child neglect in the county.
That is a rise of 41% from the 106 referrals made in 2011-12 and the most the Lincolnshire branch has ever dealt with.
A growing number of cases have also described how the child’s neglect is a result of the parents dependance on alcohol and drugs, with some parents leaving their children unsupervised to go drinking with friends.
One concerned neighbour told NSPCC helpline staff: “The children are home alone again; I’ve seen the children peer through the curtains a few times as if they’re waiting for her. She does this every Friday night to go out drinking with her mates.”
If not dealt with immediately, neglect can potentially lead to the child suffering from permanent disabilities or even death as a result of malnutrition.
It is not just an issue which is confined to Lincolnshire but is prevalent throughout the UK.
Nationally, 16,882 referrals were made to child protection services, which averages about 46 reports a day.
The NSPCC believes that the extent of the problem could be much greater and has called on the government to host a nationwide survey to uncover the true extent of child neglect in the UK.
Neglect of a child may not be intentional and the reason may vary from a family not having the skills, support or funds to raise a child, to the parent having a mental health problem.
Sandra McNair, head of service for the NSPCC in the Midlands, said: “Neglect can also be an indicator of other forms of abuse. This is why it is so important for anyone suspecting a child of being neglected to contact the NSPCC Helpline.”
Adults can contact the NSPCC Helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0808 800 5000, or email them at: [email protected]