Today, neglect remains the most prevalent form of child maltreatment in the UK

Today, neglect remains the most prevalent form of child maltreatment in the UK, which is why Action for Children has teamed up with Research in Practice and the NSPCC to explore the potential relationship between neglect and other forms of sexual harm and abuse.

By exploring how child sexual exploitation, intra-familial child sexual abuse and harmful sexual behaviours relate to child neglect we want to stimulate debate, show where more research is needed and help practitioners, commissioners and policy makers to engage with this complicated area. But most importantly we want this work to help protect children and young people from harm, and help them recover from abuse and neglect.

We already know, from existing research that:

  • Nearly one in ten children in the UK suffers from neglect.
  • While we don’t have data on the prevalence of child sexual exploitation, evidence suggests this is a sizeable problem. 
  • While accurate figures are difficult to establish on harmful sexual behaviour, approximately one in four to one in three of all sexual abuse in the UK concerns children and young people as the alleged abusers.
  • It’s difficult to estimate the numbers of children affected by intra-familial child sexual abuse, because of underreporting. Studies have shown that one per cent of 18-24 year olds have reported sexual abuse by a parent or carer.

By using the three scopes have examined new and emerging evidence bases, pulling out key implications for practice and policy, and suggesting models to support professionals to understand how child neglect can be related to other kinds of harm.


You can download the summary report and the three scopes here.

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