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Neglect Tools and Resources

23/3/2020 – We are aware that there are some technical issues on this page and are working hard to resolve these. We apologise for any inconvenience.

A page of recently published tools and resources is now available for all those working with children and young people. You can find out more and access all of the resources by clicking on the link below –

The signs of neglect and its effects

Neglect can sometimes have obvious signs, though often it can take years for emotional and psychological symptoms to become apparent. In West Sussex we categorise neglect into four types: emotional neglect, disorganised neglect, depressed / passive neglect, severe deprivation neglect. See the Four types of neglect for a description of each type.

Why does it happen?

There are occasions when nearly all parents find it difficult to cope with the many demands of caring for children. But this does not mean that their children are being neglected, it’s more that the parents could do with some support.

It is often not easy to pinpoint one specific reason why child neglect happens, it occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education. But there are some more common problems among adult carers that are associated with neglect of children. These include:

  • Domestic violence
  • Parental mental health problems
  • Substance abuse, for example alcoholism
  • Parents with their own personal history of child neglect

What effect can neglect have on a child?

Whether or not the neglect of a child’s needs is intentional, it can still have a serious and lasting effect on a child’s physical, mental and emotional development and can even be life threatening. Some children are particularly vulnerable, for example, a very young child, or a child with disabilities. However it is important to remember that adolescents can also experience neglect.

Neglected children may:

  • Be slow to learn to walk and talk
  • Be very passive and unable to be spontaneous
  • Have feeding problems and grow slowly
  • Find it hard to develop close relationships
  • Be over friendly with strangers
  • Get on badly with other children of the same age
  • Be unable to play imaginatively
  • Think badly of themselves
  • Be easily distracted and do badly at school

Supporting documents

We have a new Neglect page full of tools and resources designed to support your work in identifying and tackling neglect. Click on the link below to visit this page: