UK & World News
'Out-Of-Date' Child Abuse Law Fails To Protect
An 80-year-old child abuse law is failing to protect children suffering neglect and emotional trauma and needs updating, according to a new report.
Research by the charity Action for Children claims the law on child neglect is outdated and confusing to parents.
It said neglect is the most prevalent form of child abuse in the UK.
Experts warned the child cruelty law fails to cover all forms of neglect, including emotional abuse, which can cause long-term mental scarring.
The report suggests authorities should intervene in cases of continual emotional neglect, as well as in instances of physical neglect.
It also calls for more guidance and support for parents, to help them understand the law and seek help if they break it.
A YouGov poll of 1,092 parents found that 731 (67%) felt the current law on parenting is confusing.
The report advocates supporting vulnerable parents rather than using immediate punitive measures.
Dame Clare Tickell, chief executive of Action for Children, said: "The law leaves children unprotected and parents without support and unclear about their responsibilities until it's too late. We must ensure that these vulnerable children are protected from the serious harm which neglect, in all its forms, causes to their health and well-being."
The Labour Party has announced its support for the Government to bring the wording of child neglect laws up to date.
Catherine McKinnell, shadow minister for children and families, said: "Neglect can have a profound and devastating impact on the lives and life chances of children subjected to it. An issue of this seriousness and sheer scale must be a political priority for all parties."