The NSPCC refers an average of 43 reports of child neglect every week to the police and social services in the North West.
In 2016/17 the charity’s Helpline dealt with 2,228 reports in this way following calls or emails from concerned adults – the highest number the charity has ever had to handle from the region – up 97.8 per cent from 2011-12.
In addition there has been over the past five years a total of 1,505 contacts where advice was provided about a child possibly facing neglect in the North West, including in Wigan.
UK-wide, the NSPCC Helpline made 16,882 referrals to children’s services or the police in 2016/17, equivalent to 46 a day.
Neglect happens when a child’s needs aren’t met and is down to several reasons; they range from parents not having the skills, support or funds, to having mental health issues. A growing number of people contacting the NSPCC also describe parents as having a problem with liquor and drugs, some regularly leaving their children unsupervised so they could go drinking with friends.
These latest figures on neglect cases have been revealed in the NSPCC’s state of the nation report, How Safe are our Children?, and comes as children’s social care in England face unprecedented pressures, with more young people being taken into care, and more families needing support.
But the NSPCC believes the full scale of the problem could be much greater and is urging the Government to commission a nationwide study that measures the extent of child neglect and abuse in the UK.
Neglect can have the gravest effects; in the worst cases it can lead to a child suffering permanent disabilities or even dying from malnutrition.