The NSPCC refers an average of three reports of child neglect every week to police and social services in Buckinghamshire.
In 2016/17 the NSPCC Helpline dealt with 165 reports in this way following calls or emails from concerned adults – the highest number the charity has ever had to handle in Buckinghamshire – up 20% on the previous year.
There were a further 27 contacts requesting advice about a child possibly facing neglect in Buckinghamshire during 2016/17, up from 22 in the previous year.
UK-wide, the NSPCC made 16,882 referrals to children’s services or the police in 2016/17, equivalent to 46 a day.
Child neglect was mentioned in more than a quarter of all calls to the NSPCC Helpline in the last year. This rise shows that more people are willing to speak up about the issue.
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 Helpline also described parents as having a problem with alcohol and drugs, with some of them regularly leaving their children unsupervised so they could go drinking with friends.
Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the NSPCC said: “Neglect can have severe and long-lasting consequences for children, and can also be an indicator of other forms of abuse.
“This is why it is so important for anyone suspecting a child of being neglected to contact the NSPCC Helpline, so we can alert the authorities to quickly step in and help those in need.
Adults can contact the NSPCC Helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0808 800 5000, or firstname.lastname@example.org