Public powerless over child abuse

Both professionals and the public feel powerless to help in suspected cases of child neglect, campaigners warned today.

More than half of social workers and a third of police officers felt powerless to intervene while less than two-thirds of the public who had concerns had told someone else, surveys showed.

Action for Children called for the government to increase families’ access to support and encourage parents and the public to act early on signs of neglect.

Dame Clare Tickell, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Neglect corrodes childhoods, robbing the most vulnerable children of hope, happiness and life chances.”