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Child abuse


Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child’s basic and essential needs. This can include not getting enough to eat or being left alone in dangerous situations.

Children need adequate food, water, shelter, warmth, protection and health care and they need their carers to be attentive, dependable and kind. If a child does not have a safe and stable home, this is neglect.

There are many signs that may indicate that a child is being neglected. If your common sense and instincts tell you that something is wrong then you should take action.

Children may be neglected because they come from disadvantaged backgrounds, although most children from such backgrounds are well cared for. A child’s circumstances may make them more vulnerable to neglect, such as children who are in care or seeking asylum.

A child who is neglected will often suffer from other forms of abuse as well, such as physical, sexual or emotional, although this isn’t always the case. Neglect is dangerous and can have a debilitating and long-term effect on a child’s physical wellbeing, and on their mental, emotional and behavioural development. In severe cases, the effects can cause permanent disabilities and even death.

Getting help


Offers advice about what to do if you think a child is being neglected. Includes guidance about the different types of neglect, the signs and indicators and further resources for professionals.

0808 800 5000


Information and advice for children and young people about what to do if they think they might be neglected. Children and young people aged under 19 can call the confidential 24 hour helpline or chat online with a counsellor.

0800 1111

Young Minds

Offers help to children and young people needing any kind of mental or emotional support. Lots of useful advice about how to cope and where to go to get help. Also provide a parent support helpline.

0808 802 5544

If you are worried about the safety or wellbeing of a child or young person in Devon,
please complete the request for support online form.


If you think that the child is at risk of significant harm,
contact our Front Door directly by calling 0345 155 1071.


In an emergency call 999.