Neglect toolkit - identifying risk of neglect

Child in purple hoodie checking empty freezer

Research has highlighted some similarities among children who have been neglected. These similarities, or risk factors, can help to identify children who may be at increased risk of neglect. They are open to interpretation and should be treated with care, but the NSPCC provide the following guidelines.

Disabled children SHOW

Children in care SHOW

Children who have experienced other forms of abuse SHOW

Children from black and mixed ethnic backgrounds SHOW

Children living in poverty SHOW

Parents who are under pressure SHOW

Parents who don't have a good support network SHOW

Impact of Covid SHOW

In addition, we should consider the following circumstances to enable appropriate support:

  • Poor experience of caring behaviour in parents own childhood
  • Social and emotional immaturity of parents or carers
  • Poor parental level of education and cognitive ability
  • Teenage pregnancy
  • Lone parenting
  • Health problems during pregnancy
  • Pre-term or low birth weight baby
  • Parental low self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Experience of physical, sexual, emotional abuse in parents own childhood
  • Multiple co-habitation and change of partner
  • Family violence, modelling of inappropriate behaviour

These circumstances do not automatically indicate neglect however, children living in these circumstances may be at risk of experiencing neglect and practitioners should be mindful of this when working with families and provide support to negate the potential risks as part of the strategy to prevent neglect.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary
NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight
Southampton City Council