Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child's basic needs and is the most common form of abuse.
A child may be left hungry or dirty, without adequate clothing, shelter, supervision, medical or health care. A child may be put in danger or not protected from physical or emotional harm.
They may not get the love, care and attention they need from their parents.
Neglect is often associated with parental addictions and/or mental health conditions. A child who's neglected will often suffer from other abuse as well. Neglect is dangerous and can cause serious, long-term damage - even death.
Types of neglect
Physical neglect: Failing to provide for a child’s basic needs such as food, clothing or shelter. Failing to adequately supervise a child, or provide for their safety.
Educational neglect: Failing to ensure a child receives an education.
Emotional neglect: Failing to meet a child’s needs for nurture and stimulation, perhaps by ignoring, humiliating, intimidating or isolating them. It’s often the most difficult to prove.
Medical neglect: Failing to provide appropriate health care, including dental care and refusal of care or ignoring medical recommendations.
Developing healthy brains
Every child needs loving, nurturing care from the adults around them if they are to develop the healthy brains they need to be able to thrive and this is even more important in the first few years of life. The toxic stress that neglect causes means that a child's healthy brain development can be impaired.
The good news is our brains aren't fully formed until around the age of 25, so there are opportunities to help young people develop the skills they need and to overcome the impact of earlier toxic stress.
Watch this short film to find out more about the impact toxic stress can have on a child’s healthy brain development.