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What is Neglect?

Neglect is the continued failure to meet your basic and essential needs.

You need adequate food, water, shelter, warmth, protection and health care and you need your parents and carers to be attentive, dependable and kind.

Being looked after properly means that you feel confident that you will have access to things when you need them:

  • Clean, warm clothes and shoes
  • Enough to eat and drink
  • Protection and guidance from dangerous situations
  • Somewhere warm and comfortable to sleep
  • Help when you are ill or you’ve been hurt
  • Comfort and affection
  • Support with your education

Neglect is the opposite and is when you aren’t being looked after properly.

  • You may be left alone for a long time
  • You may be given too much responsibility for looking after other people
  • You may not be taken to the doctor when you are unwell
  • You may be left with people who you do not feel safe with
  • You may not get any support from an adult
  • You may not have enough food to eat
  • You may not have clothes to keep you warm
  • You may not have somewhere to stay

If the people who are supposed to look after you don’t give you the things you need or make it hard for you to take care of yourself, then this is neglect. It can make you feel unloved or unimportant.

As a child you have the right to be well looked after but sometimes parents and carers are not able to manage this by themselves. There are lots of reasons why your parent or carer might be neglecting you. They might be doing their best, but just don’t have enough money. Maybe they have a problem with alcohol or drugs, or are having problems with their mental health. Whatever the reason is, it is still your parents or carers job to make sure you are properly looked after.

If you think you are being neglected you should talk to someone you trust such as a teacher so you and your parents/carers can get the help your family need. No matter what problems your parents are having, there will be someone who can help.

Worried About A Child or Friend or Do You Need Help?

Children’s Reception Team
(IOW Social Care)

Phone Number: 0300 300 0117. Call any time day or night

Report your concerns about yourself, a child or friend to Children’s Reception Team (IOW Social Care)


If there is immediate danger call 999

Phone Number: 0808 800 5000 or if you are 18 or under call 0800 11 11

A leading children's charity fighting to end child abuse in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. They help children who have been abused to rebuild their lives, protect those at risk, and find the best ways of preventing abuse from ever happening.

Phone Number: 0800 11 11

A free, private and confidential service where you can be you. Whatever your worry, whenever you need help, however you want to get in touch. We're here for you online, on the phone, anytime.

Phone Number: 116 123 (Free) or email jo@samaritans.org

They provide a safe place to talk anytime about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal.