Back to news listing
Poll reveals almost 1 in 4 parents fear for neglected children in school holidays
5 August 2011
More than a quarter of parents with a child under the age of 18
(26%) think that children are more likely to be neglected in the
summer holidays than term time, according to new figures out today
(Friday 5 August).
The YouGov poll of over 2000 parents, for charity Action for Children,
found that many parents are going as far as feeding other people's
children (14%) or having them to stay in the holidays (9%), fearing
that they aren't being fed or looked after properly at
It is estimated that up to 10%
of all children in Britain are neglected (1) - failing to receive
the right care and attention, including enough food, clean clothes,
safety and security, warmth and love. The charity fears that the
long summer holidays can lead to an increase in problems faced by
neglected children, as they lose the routine, structure and regular
meals provided by schools in term time.
Further findings from the
survey reveal that;
26% of parents questioned said that children are
more likely to be neglected in the summer holidays than in term
Dads agreed more
than mums, with 29% agreeing, compared to 24% of mums asked.
Parents surveyed in the Midlands were most
likely to agree (33%).
23% of parents surveyed have worried that their
children's friends were being neglected during the summer holidays.
Parents in the North have been particularly
concerned, with just over 1 in 4 (26%) saying that they have
14% of parents with a child under the age of 18
have fed a child (other than their own) during the school holidays
because they weren't sure they were being fed properly at home,
parents in the North have dished up extra food
more than most (17%) and 9% of all parents surveyed have had
another child over to stay the night in the school holidays because
they weren't sure they were being looked after properly at home.
London parents get out the sleeping bags the most
in 10 (10%) parents surveyed have taken another child on a family
trip/ outing in the school holidays because they weren't sure they
were being looked after properly.
15% of mums surveyed have cared for a child,
other than their own, because they thought they were being
neglected at home. Parents in Wales were most
likely to have done this (17%).
Dame Clare Tickell, Chief
Executive of Action for
Children, commented; ""No child should ever feel lonely, hungry
or worthless, but once the school gates have closed for the summer
holidays that is exactly how many of the 1.5 million neglected
children in Britain are left feeling. The government must
help to tackle neglect within families, and give councils a clear
signal not to cut play schemes and activities for children in the
summer holidays - they may look like easy cuts to make but they are
vital for our most vulnerable children, and their
Cathy, 43, and mum of two said;
"My daughter goes to our local primary school and it's impossible
not to be aware of the children who aren't being cared for.
One child comes home with us on a regular basis. I used to be able
to track her mum down to tell her, but it has become obvious she
doesn't care where she is. Her clothes are usually dirty and
worn out, she doesn't have a toothbrush and is always in trouble
for not doing her homework. Worst of all for her she is always
infested with nits which means the other children avoid her. We do
as much as we can to help; clothes, meals and a bed occasionally
but I still worry for her when she's not with
Children is campaigning to improve the way child neglect is
tackled, highlighting the importance of intervening early and
calling for summer play schemes and activities to be protected by
local authorities. The charity is visiting various parts of the UK
this week, encouraging people to sign up
to a petition calling on the government to tackle child