Unfortunately, people commonly report child neglect as one of the most prevalent forms of child maltreatment. However, it is also one of the most difficult forms of abuse to substantiate and respond to due to issues relating to poverty, family structure, ethnicity and cultural background and a family’s access to resources. Our Family Lawyers explain why child neglect can be a such a difficult form of abuse to understand.

What is a Child Neglect?

Neglect is a relative term which is perceived differently across various social and cultural groups. As it is a relative term, here is no universally accepted definition for child neglect. However, from a practical perspective, we consider it a parent or caregiver's failure to provide a child with:  Firstly, food.Secondly, shelter.Thirdly, clothing.Fourthly, medical care.Fifthly, adequate supervision.Finally, emotional nurturance.

What is the impact of Child Neglect?

The impacts of child neglect can vary depending on the type of abandonment however children are rarely exposed to only one form of maltreatment. For example, various impacts can be as obvious as dental issues, being underweight or under-developed. Or conversely less obvious physical examples, such as being emotionally immature or developmentally delayed. Neglected children are more likely to have low self-esteem, poor impulse control and the inability to express themselves, and these issues often ‘flow on’ into their adult lives

I think my ex is neglecting my children. What can I do?

If you are concerned that your former spouse is neglecting your children we recommend seeking immediate legal advice. Family Law proceedings necessitate that parties submit a Notice of Risk form. This form discloses any concerns or suspicions that a party may have about the other and any possible risk factors which may impact the children.  Whilst child neglect is a difficult form of maltreatment to substantiate the impacts upon children are profound and can have lifelong consequences. If you suspect your children are at risk, it is imperative that you act quickly.

New South Lawyers’ communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. To that end, people should not rely on this communication as legal advice. Accordingly, they should seek formal legal advice for matters of interest arising from this communication.

To find out more, chat with a member of New South Lawyers' Family Law Team today.