Increase in reports of child neglect down to public’s confidence, says Essex Police

NSPCC recently revealed a sharp increase in the number of cases of child neglect in Essex. Picture:

NSPCC recently revealed a sharp increase in the number of cases of child neglect in Essex. Picture: TOM HUL/STOCK IMAGE - Credit: Archant

Essex Police says the public are becoming more confident in reporting cases of child neglect, following a recent surge in figures.

Earlier this month, the NSPCC revealed an average of ten reports are referred to Essex Police and social services every week.

It also reported that in 2016/17, the charity’s helpline dealt with 516 reports in this way after receiving calls or emails from concerned adults – the highest number they have ever had to handle in the county.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Lopez, from Essex Police’s Public Protection Unit, said: “This rise in referrals highlights the increased confidence that the public have with the way that Essex Police deal with incidents of abuse and neglect.

“We have specialist officers who work hard to protect and safeguard victims and bring offenders to justice.

“We have formed strong partnerships with other agencies, such as schools, social care and the health sector, to help identify children at risk and support them.

“No child should experience abuse or neglect and I need anyone who knows a child who is in this position to call us on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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The NSPCC agrees that the figures show the public are more willing to speak up about child neglect, but believes the full scale of the problem nationally could be much worse.

Common signs of neglect can include poor appearance and hygiene, untreated injuries such as flea bites, or living in an unsuitable home environment.

Councillor Dick Madden, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “The safeguarding and welfare of young people underpins all our work with children and families in Essex and we respond to all referrals of suspected or potential neglect that are made to us.

“We take all concerns seriously and will assess and take appropriate action where necessary by working alongside families and partners to ensure young people receive care that meets their needs and that they are protected from harm.

“We would encourage anyone who has any concerns about a child, to continue to seek appropriate advice and support by calling the Essex Children and Families’ Hub on 0345 603 7627.”

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