Third of adults worried over welfare of kids in their neighbourhood

Neglected lonely child
Neglected lonely child
  • 43 per cent of adults in NI did not tell anyone about their fears for a child’s welfare because of the risk of repercussions
  • 28 per cent of children in NI recognise that children who aren’t looked after well at home would be helped by a trusted adult to speak to
  • Neglect features in 60 per cent of serious case reviews into the death or serious injury of a child
0
Have your say

More than a third of adults are worried about the welfare or safety of a child in their neighbourhood, according to a survey published by Action for Children Northern Ireland today.

While 64 per cent said members of the public should become involved when they have concerns about a neglected child, more than half said they needed more information about sources of assistance and advice about their worries.

Fears over children.

Fears over children.

Worryingly 43 per cent of adults in Northern Ireland did not tell anyone about their fears for a child’s welfare or safety because of the risk of repercussions such as causing trouble for the people involved, or themselves, if they were mistaken.

The charity also surveyed more than 2,000 children, with one third saying they have been very or quite worried about whether another child is being looked after properly at home.

Action for Children is calling for a national strategy on child neglect that includes a public awareness campaign containing clear, concise information about where children and adults can seek advice and report their fears.

Nearly half of children also said they needed more information about where to go with their worries.

The charity also surveyed more than 2,000 children, with one third saying they have been very or quite worried about whether another child is being looked after properly at home.

Action for Children NI operational director of children’s services Dawn Shaw said: “Friends, neighbours, the owner of a local corner shop – these individuals within a community can be crucial to a child’s safety by acting on their concerns.

“While our figures suggest an encouraging increase in public awareness of child neglect, it is a scandal that people simply don’t know what to do when they think a child is not being cared for or where to go to raise the alarm that a child in their street may be in serious danger.

“Neglect is our biggest problem, the number one reason for child protection referrals to social services, but there is no vision to tackle it. To protect more children, we need a national strategy to command political and public support for change: only this commitment from Government will truly change children’s lives.”

The survey also found that:

43 per cent of adults in Northern Ireland did not tell anyone about their fears for a child’s welfare or safety because of the risk of repercussions such as causing trouble for the people involved, or themselves, if they were mistaken.

28 per cent of children in Northern Ireland recognise that children who aren’t looked after well at home would be helped by a trusted adult to speak to.

57 per cent of adults in Northern Ireland said services to help families before their problems got worse should be a government priority.

Neglect features in 60 per cent of serious case reviews into the death or serious injury of a child. A child experiences neglect when the adults who look after them fail to meet their needs. It can be emotional as well as physical, with children not receiving basic daily care, warmth, stimulation, boundaries, medical care or being left alone. It can affect all aspects of a child’s development and, in extreme cases, lead to a child’s death.