250 cases of child neglect in Suffolk reported in past year

The NSPCC have started their Christmas campaign. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The NSPCC have started their Christmas campaign. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Contributed

New figures show that 250 cases of child neglect were referred to police or local authorities in Suffolk over the last 12 months by the NSPCC.

Nationally, the children’s charity received more than 65,000 calls during its 2017/18 period, with a third of those calls being about child neglect.

On average, adults called the helpline 55 times a day worried about the neglect of a child.

In a bid to raise awareness of child neglect, the NSPCC has launched its ‘Light for Every Childhood’ Christmas appeal.

Christmas is the busiest time of the year for the NSPCC, which receives hundreds of calls a day.

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The NSPCC Christmas Appeal is calling for donations to the NSPCC Helpline – which is open throughout the holidays – so they can answer more calls and help children suffering neglect both at Christmas and all year round.

One relative got in touch with the helpline after visiting distant family over the Christmas period with concerns about a parent letting her young children get drunk and take drugs.

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The caller, who has to remain nameless, said: “Over Christmas I spent time with my family and what I witnessed was really worrying. I learnt that the children have been left home alone on various occasions, and have also been allowed to get drunk and take drugs. They also have mental health problems. I think the whole family needs additional support.”

During the festive period extended family members often get in touch with the NSPCC after spending more time with a young relative and becoming concerned for the child’s welfare.

Signs of neglect could include poor appearance and hygiene, untreated injuries, like cuts and bruises and poor language and communication skills.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: “Neglect doesn’t stop because it is Christmas. The holidays can in fact magnify problems because children are cut-off from the wider community and their support network.

“While it is positive that people are being vigilant and reporting concerns of children suffering neglect rather than standing by, it is still deeply worrying to see that neglect continues to be the most common reason for contacting the NSPCC Helpline.”

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