Adults’ fear of reporting ‘encourages child neglect’ (UK) 25 February 2009

Child neglect is being allowed to persist across Britain because adults are afraid to report concerns about what is going on in their neighbourhood, a poll for the charity Action for Children revealed today. It found one in four adults said they had been worried about a child who they feared might be the victim of neglect. But 38% of those expressing concern said they did not tell anyone.

Among the concerned respondents:
• 16% remained silent about their worries because they were frightened of repercussions if they alerted the authorities.
• 15% said they did not tell anyone because it was not any of their business.
• 11% would tell a neighbour, relative or friend about their suspicions before alerting social services or the police.
• 15% said lack of proof prevented them from doing anything.
• 23% said they did not have enough information about who to ask for help.

The charity said: “Child neglect is becoming an ever-growing safeguarding concern. In 2008, in England alone, neglect was the reason why 45% of children were on the child protection register, compared to 15% for physical abuse, 7% for sexual abuse and 25% for emotional abuse.”