Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child’s basic needs and is the most common form of child abuse. A child may be left hungry or dirty, without adequate clothing, shelter, supervision, medical or health care. A child may be put in danger or not protected from physical or emotional harm. They may not get the love, care and attention they need from their parents. A child who’s neglected will often suffer from other abuse as well. Neglect is dangerous and can cause serious, long-term damage – even death.

Neglect is defined as “the ongoing failure to meet a child’s basic physical and psychological needs” (Department for Education, 2018; Department of Health, 2017; Scottish Government, 2014; All Wales, Child Protection Review Group, 2008).

It is a form of child abuse that can have serious and long-lasting impacts on a child’s life – it can cause serious harm and even death.

The four main types of neglect are:

physical neglect: not meeting a child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing or shelter; not supervising a child adequately or providing for their safety

educational neglect: not making sure a child receives an education

emotional neglect: not meeting a child’s needs for nurture and stimulation, for example by ignoring, humiliating, intimidating or isolating them.

medical neglect: not providing appropriate health care (including dental care), refusing care or ignoring medical recommendations (Horwath, 2007)

Southampton Safeguarding Children Partnership (SSCP) Neglect Strategy and Practitioners Guide

The SSCP has set out a number of priorities and neglect is one of the most important – it runs through all the other priorities and has been identified as being as potentially damaging as any other form of abuse. We want the City’s children to be safe and protected. The aim is to ensure that every child is supported in reaching their full potential, free from harm or the fear of harm. This strategy and the practitioners guide that accompanies it have been completely refreshed and updated. Please click on links below to access.

Southampton SCP Neglect Strategy

Southampton SCP Practitioners Guide to working with Neglect

Southampton City Council Educational Neglect Advice for Practitioners

The HIPS Neglect policy guidance and procedure is a succinct safeguarding practice guide which captures the most significant points when working with neglect of children and young people suffering from neglect.

Spotlight on Neglect

This Spotlight on Neglect provides an overview of the resources and local guidance available to practitioners in Southampton.

Further information and resources: