Cheshire East Council has joined forces with partners to spearhead a new strategy to help prevent the most common form of child abuse - neglect. To tackle this head on, the council is calling on residents to help by reporting it.
Very serious matters such as radicalisation and child sexual exploitation are firmly in the minds of the public but the numbers of cruelty and neglect offences in England are the highest they have ever been. Neglect affects one in 10 children and in many cases leads on to even more serious issues.
Through Cheshire East’s Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) the neglect strategy will tackle the key challenge of identifying neglect much sooner and intervening immediately.
If you see any of the following in a child or young person then neglect may be happening:
- Often in dirty clothes;
- Looking malnourished
- Being out of school during normal school hours; and
- Displaying very withdrawn behaviour
In developing the strategy, the authority worked with children and young people affected by abuse and neglect, who said they wanted to be listened to, understand what their concerns are and what will happen next. This is what they said.
“When neglected you feel alone, isolated and like you’re different to the rest, nothing you do or say matters.”
“I felt like I missed out and for me it felt like it was my fault we weren’t allowed what others had, we didn’t get the love others got. It makes you feel different and even now two years later the feeling never goes away.”
Councillor Liz Durham, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families, said: "Historically the challenge we have faced as a society in addressing this terrible problem, is that many of us have been too unsure of ourselves to come forward. Hopefully this will now change.
“Cheshire East Council is committed to making a difference to the lives of young people in our communities. We want the borough to be a great place to be young, where all our children and young people can thrive and feel safe from harm and neglect.
“The wider community of Cheshire East has such a vital role to play in ensuring that we achieve this.”
Gill Frame, independent chair of the LSCB said: “The impact of neglect on children is enormous. Neglect causes great distress to children, leading to poor health, educational and social outcomes and is potentially fatal.”
If you think you have seen signs of child neglect, please call 0300 123 5012 or visit www.cheshireeastlscb.org.uk/neglect. Your information will be treated in complete confidence.