Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic and essential needs.

Children need adequate food, water, shelter, warmth, protection and health care and they need their carers to be attentive, dependable and kind.
If you are worried or unsure that a child may be suffering, or have suffered harm, neglect or abuse, please contact

Hants Direct on 0300 300 0117

During 2018 we will be running several free Child Neglect training courses. To see the details of these courses and to book a place, visit the Training & Events Page of our website.

Neglect can have a debilitating and long-lasting effect on a child’s physical wellbeing, and on their mental, emotional and behavioural development. In some cases the effects can cause permanent disabilities and in severe cases, death.

There are many reasons why neglect happens, some adults find it difficult to organise their lives, leading to a chaotic home life for children. Some adults do not understand the needs of their children and some find it difficult to show their feelings, neglecting their child’s emotional needs. Some children are more vulnerable to neglect such as children who are in care or who live with families with cases of domestic abuse, drug or alcohol misuse or parents with mental health problems.

Signs that a child could be suffering neglect include:
  • Living in an inadequate home environment
  • Being left alone for a long time
  • Being persistently ignored by parents or carers
  • Poor appearance and delayed development
  • Taking on the role of carer for other family members
Physical Effects of neglect may include:
  • Poor muscle tone, prominent joints
  • Poor skin, rashes, sores, flea bites
  • Thin or swollen tummy
  • Poor hygiene, like being dirty or smelly
  • Untreated health problems such as bad teeth
  • Unwashed clothing
  • Inadequate clothing, like not having a coat in winter
Emotional and behavioural effects may include:
  • Difficulties with school work
  • Missing school
  • Being anxious about or avoiding people
  • Difficulty in making friends
  • Being withdrawn
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
None of the signs outlined above would indicate for certain that a child is being neglected but children who are persistently and severely neglected may be in danger.
Some parents and carers simply need more resources and support to properly care for their children, but some have more complex problems. In both cases, they need help from professionals.
If you feel you need further help and support yourself or if you believe a child is being neglected, please contact Hants Direct on 0300 300 0117
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