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Five signs of child neglect

Five signs of child neglect

Monday 24 January 2022

Five signs of child neglect

Monday 24 January 2022

Islanders are being urged to keep an eye out for signs of neglect, after reviews highlighted that more needed to be done to identify and help children suffering from not having their needs met.

On Friday, the Safeguarding Partnership Board (SPB) launched a new 'Neglect Strategy', after reviews and inspections highlighted that Children's Services were dealing with upwards of 400 child neglect cases.

One of the most common forms of child abuse, neglect is defined as persistently failing to meet a child's emotional, physical, educational and social needs. It can significantly impact a child's development.

Last week, SPB Chair Sarah Elliott explained that there should be a community effort to match the professional effort to tackle child neglect.

Islanders are now being urged to keep an eye out for:

  • Children who are left hungry.

  • Children who fail to receive basic healthcare.

  • Children who are left without adequate clothing.

  • Children are dirty and unwashed.

  • Children who are often angry, aggressive or self-harm.

"This is not just about professionals, because tackling child neglect requires a community response. Voluntary organisations and islanders themselves can play their parts by spotting signs of neglect," Ms Elliot explained.


Pictured: Over 400 children on the island have experienced neglect, according to figures from the Safeguarding Partnership Board.

“So, for example, it might be a child that always appears hungry, or perhaps a child that they're worried about because they look very sad all the time or maybe they're not dressed appropriately for the weather - and obviously that's very mindful at the moment with the cold snap we're having.

"Or perhaps a young child that seems to be left at home alone. All of those things can be a sign that actually those parents are not coping and that child is not thriving, and in those circumstances we would want members of the public to pick up the phone and speak to the Children and Families Hub."

The SPB has also created a neglect 'toolkit', which provides more comprehensive guidance on other signs which may point to neglect. Of particular concern are children who:

  • become withdrawn;

  • suddenly behave differently;

  • are anxious, clingy and/or obsessive;

  • become depressed and/or aggressive;

  • take risks such as breaking the law, running away from home, getting involved in 

    dangerous relationships which could put them at risk of sexual exploitation;

  • have problems sleeping, nightmares;

  • have a change in eating habits or suffer from eating disorders;

  • wet the bed;

  • soil their clothes; 

  • miss school;

  • abuse drugs and/or alcohol;

  • and/or who self-harm or have thoughts about suicide.

CLICK HERE to read the full Neglect Strategy.


Anyone with concerns can phone the Children and Families Hub on 519000 or e-mail

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