At least one child neglected every week in North Somerset

PUBLISHED: 17:13 31 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:13 31 August 2017

The figures have been released by the NSPCC.

The figures have been released by the NSPCC.

Archant

A child is being neglected every week in North Somerset, something a former social worker says is a 'worrying' trend in society.

New figures, released by the NSPCC, show the children’s charity refers five cases of child neglect to police and social services in the area every month.

Over the past year, there have been 59 cases reported, which is a five per cent increase on last year and the highest annual North Somerset figure the charity has seen.

Sue Johnson, who is a former North Somerset social worker, told the Times: “Neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse of children continues to plague our society.

“From my experience of more than 20 years as a social worker in North Somerset I can tell you neglect can often be the most hidden form of abuse and it can be difficult to provide enough evidence of harm to the wellbeing of a child to justify the need for them to be looked after by the local authority.

“The public are often wary of reporting potential neglect of children. After all where do we draw the line between carelessness and temporary inability to care adequately for children and neglect?

“The fact these NSPCC figures are showing a significant increase in reporting of neglect is a very worrying trend.”

When describing neglect, the NSPCC’S campaign manager for the South West, Julie Campbell, said it is a failure to provide children with their basic needs. This can range from nourishment, clothing, and to not putting their children’s needs before their own.

Superintendent Will White, who is the head of child protection at Avon and Somerset Constabulary, said: “There are a number of reasons to explain the rise in the number of offences, including increased awareness of this type of crime, an increase in early reporting of offences and an increase in confidence among victims in the criminal justice system.

“The way these types of crimes are recorded has also dramatically improved, meaning we are unearthing a more accurate picture.

“If we want to stamp out abuse we first need to understand its scale and prevalence, this is a journey and not something that can be explained by solely analysing simple statistics.”

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