REPORTS of child neglect referred to police and social services in Warwickshire have reached record numbers as people grow more willing to raise concerns, writes Louis Ashworth.
The NSPCC said its helpline passed on 155 reports in 2016/17, the highest number ever for the area. Five years ago, only 46 reports were referred.
There were a further 23 contacts over the past year where advice was provided about a child possibly facing neglect.
A growing number of reports has described parents as having a problem with alcohol or drugs, which in some cases leads them to abandon their children in order to go out with friends.
Nationally 16,882 referrals were made by the NCPCC over the past year. Sandra McNair, the charity’s head of service for the Midlands, said: “Neglect can have severe and long-lasting consequences for children, and 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 us so we can alert the authorities to quickly step in and help those in need.
“At the same time, it is vital we understand the true nature and scale of child neglect in the UK so we can collectively tackle the fundamental causes.
“Therefore, a government-commissioned, nationwide prevalence study on child abuse and neglect needs to be conducted, and sooner rather than later.”
Adults can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000, or email via firstname.lastname@example.org.