The number of neglected children reported to the NSPCC in Birmingham has almost DOUBLED in five years – including reports of kids being left home alone.
Calls made to the charity have soared to the highest number ever, with 318 people phoning the helpline in the last year.
This is up from 169 calls made five years previously.
The NSPCC say a growing number of people are reporting parents with alcohol and drug problems, with some regularly leaving their children unsupervised so they can go drinking.
One neighbour told Helpline staff: “The children are home alone again; I saw the mother leave the house earlier this morning and its past midnight now.
“I’ve seen the children peer through the curtains a few times as if they’re waiting for her. She does this every Friday night to go out drinking with her mates.
“I’m really confused about what to do as I don’t want to ruin the relationship with the mother as we are neighbours but at the same time I am really worried about the children.
“What should I do?”
A family member of a suspected neglected child also said: “I am concerned for the safety of a little boy; he does not seem to be getting adequate care at home.
“His mother doesn’t seem interested in looking after him and lets him stay up all night; she has alcohol and drug abuse problems.
“He is regularly being left unsupervised and I am worried that he could seriously hurt himself at home alone, because I know it has happened before.”
The NSPCC refers an average of six reports of child neglect to Birmingham police and social services every week.
Signs of neglect include poor appearance and hygiene, unwashed clothes, skin sores, rashes, and being left alone for a long time.
They may also have poor language, untreated injuries, and turn up to school hungry or without lunch money.
Sandra McNair, NSPCC Head of Service for the Midlands, said: “Neglect can have severe and long-lasting consequences for children, and can also be an indicator of other forms of abuse. This is why it is so important for anyone suspecting a child of being neglected to contact the NSPCC Helpline, so we can alert the authorities to quickly step in and help those in need.
“At the same time, it is vital we understand the true nature and scale of child neglect in the UK so we can collectively tackle the fundamental causes. Therefore, a Government commissioned, nationwide prevalence study on child abuse and neglect needs to be conducted, and sooner rather than later.”
Adults can contact the NSPCC Helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0808 800 5000, or email@example.com
Article from the Birmingham Mail. Read in full