NSPCC guidance outlines how to prevent neglect in young children

By Janaki Mahadevan

| 25 June 2012

The NSPCC is urging practitioners to look out for the signs of neglect and emotional abuse in babies and pre-school aged children.

The guide examines interactions between parent and child. Image: Morguefile

Along with Cardiff University, the charity has published a guide for staff working with babies, young children and their families, based on a review of evidence into the indicators of emotional neglect or abuse in pre-school children.

Aimed at practitioners including health visitors, GPs, paediatricians, nursery staff, social workers and mental health professionals, the guide outlines examples of emotional neglect and abuse and signs to look for in children and the interaction between parents and children.

For example, it asks staff to be aware if a mother is not sensitive to their child’s feelings or is constantly critical of their baby, offering very little positive feedback.

Similarly in children, the guide asks professionals to be aware of children aged from birth to three who are more aggressive and hostile, particularly with other children.

The guide states: “At a time when there is increased concern about the damaging impact of emotional neglect and emotional abuse, this leaflet will help a wide range of professionals in different disciplines who work with babies, young children and their families.”

The resource forms part of the NSPCC’s ongoing work on neglect, following on from its research that revealed up to one in 10 children experience neglect in childhood.

The resource is based on research into features of emotional neglect and abuse in children under six, conducted by Cardiff University’s Child Protection Systematic Review group.

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