What is child neglect?
A child’s home should be safe, warm and nurturing. Sadly, it is estimated that 10% of children in the UK have experienced neglect.
Child neglect cases usually occur when an adult fails to meet a child’s basic needs. A child suffering neglect may be left unsupervised and go hungry, be left unwashed or without clean clothing, or denied medical care or access to education. If the child did not receive the love and care that they need from their parents or carers they may suffer emotional or physical harm.
Neglect can cause serious, long-term damage including stunted development, physical injury and, in some cases, even death. It is quite common for a child suffering neglect to also be subject to other types of abuse.
Our team understands that reporting neglect for the first time is an extremely difficult step to take. If you are considering doing so, please contact us so that we can advise you further.
Physical neglect can take the form of failing to protect a child from physical harm or provide a safe home environment. It can also be a failure to provide food, clothing or shelter, and also allowing a child to use drugs or alcohol, or commit − or be witness to − criminal offences. Expectant mothers who use illegal drugs or abuse alcohol during pregnancy may also be regarded as neglectful.
Emotional neglect may include a failure to protect a child from emotional harm, or failure to provide the love, care and attention that children need from their parents or carers.
If a child is not provided with appropriate health or dental care, or medical recommendations are ignored, this can be classified as a case of medical neglect.
Failure to ensure that a child receives an education can be classed as educational neglect.
If you suffered neglect you may be able to make a claim for compensation against the person or people who neglected you (e.g. your parents or carers).
Making a civil claim against the neglecter
If you or a loved one has suffered neglect that was caused by an individual, you may want to pursue a compensation claim against them. To make a successful claim, we must be able to show:
- That the neglect took place: This will be straightforward if the person or persons have been convicted of the offence. If this is not the case, Bolt Burdon Kemp will help you prove that the neglect took place. This will involve taking a supportive statement, obtaining expert evidence, and securing any relevant documentation to help win your case.
- That the claim has been brought within the time limit: The time limit for this is three years from the date of the neglect or knowledge of it, or before the age of 21 if the neglect took place when the person was a child. It is common for child neglect compensation claims to be pursued outside the time limit, and Bolt Burdon Kemp’s specialist team is highly skilled and experienced at persuading the court to agree an extension.
- That the survivor has suffered damage and is entitled to compensation. Our experienced team will show the impact of the neglect by gathering witness statements from the survivor and any family and friends who can tell us the affect it has had on them. Additionally, we will instruct a medical expert who will prepare a medico-legal report describing the harm caused to you or your loved one. All this evidence will then be used by us to secure the most compensation possible.
Making a civil claim against a local authority
You may wish to bring a claim for neglect against the local authority responsible for ensuring you or your loved one’s welfare and safety. Local authorities have a duty of care to protect children within their area. By establishing that they failed to carry out that duty by delaying or failing to remove a child from a neglectful home, they can be held liable and ordered to pay compensation to the survivor.
How Bolt Burdon Kemp can help
At Bolt Burdon Kemp we understand that money cannot take away the pain of mistreatment and neglect, but it can help secure a better future. Our team will help you through every step of your claim. Contact us now.