The nation's largest child welfare charity has launched a new resource for health visitors to help them identify emotional neglect in pre-school children after calls to their helpline doubled in the last two years.

Latest NSPCC helpline statistics shows that last year there were twice as many calls and emails to the charity about neglect as in 2009/10, as counsellors dealt with over 12,000 contacts about neglect from the public.

The rise in reports of neglect to the NSPCC comes as local children's services face unprecedented pressures, with more children being taken into care, and more families needing help at a time of significant funding cuts.

Following this, the NSPCC  and Cardiff University have produced a new, free online resource to help practitioners including health visitors identify the key signs they should look out for both in a child's behaviour and in parent-child interactions, which may indicate they are being emotionally neglected or emotionally abused.

Dr Sabine Maguire, of Cardiff University, said: "The review showed there are clearly observable emotional, behavioural and developmental features in pre-school children who have been emotionally neglected or emotionally abused.

"Early recognition of these features potentially enables the cycle of emotional neglect or emotional abuse to be broken, thus preventing longer term consequences which may include increasing aggression, poor social skills and language delay."

It is the latest in the CORE-INFO series of leaflets and based on a systematic review of the latest worldwide published scientific research into the features of emotional neglect and emotional abuse in children under six, conducted by Cardiff University's Child Protection Systematic Review group.

Dr Ruth Gardner, head of the NSPCC's neglect programme added: "Emotional neglect and abuse in early infancy have a profound impact on children and can lead to them becoming anxious, anti-social, withdrawn, or aggressive later in life.

"It is vital that practitioners have the right resources to allow them to recognise the signs early, as the longer the child is left in an emotionally abusive or neglectful environment, the greater the resulting damage.

The new CORE-INFO resource will be very valuable in helping practitioners identify these children and seek specialised assessment where necessary."

Click here to download a copy of the new CORE-INFO resource

Health visitors can also take part in the JFHC Health Visitor Survey, where participants can win prizes of up to £1,000 in value - go enter.

Posted 27/06/2012 by