Child Neglect And Its Relationship To Other Forms Of Harm

Child neglect and its relationship to other forms of harm - responding effectively to children’s needs: Evidence Scopes

Published: 26/11/2016

Author: Flood S, Holmes D


This open access series of Evidence Scopes considers the association between neglect and forms of sexual harm and abuse, including child sexual exploitation (CSE), intra-familial child sexual abuse (IFCSA) and harmful sexual behaviours (HSB), drawing out the key messages, themes and implications for practice and policy. Commissioned by Action for Children and the NSPCC with Research in Practice.

The publication download includes:

  • Executive summary
  • Evidence Scope one
  • Evidence Scope two
  • Evidence Scope three
  • References
  • Appendixes A
  • Appendixes B
  • Appendixes C 

Reflective questions and practice implications

Each resource draws out the key messages, themes and implications for practice and policy. Rather than offering simplistic messages or assuming causality, they encourage sector leaders and practitioners to critically reflect on the evidence, to explore how this relates to their own experience and to engage with the complexity of these topics.

  • The hypothesised model on page 21 of Evidence Scope one, outlines how neglect may increase vulnerability to CSE. How we might address the impact of neglect early on so that it does not create vulnerability to CSE?
  • How, when a young person who has experienced neglect does go on to experience CSE, we might better help them address their underlying vulnerabilities and needs?
  • Evidence Scope two suggests that practitioners working with children and families where neglect or IFCSA are a concern should be cautiously alert to the potential for co-occurring/ cumulative forms of harm, without making assumptions.
  • When working with neglecting families, practitioners must remain child-centred in order to identify children’s emotional or supervisory needs and allowing for a strengthened response to protection from further harm of IFCSA.
  • Practitioners working with children and families where IFCSA has occurred should be alert to the potential for negative responses from families to disclosure or revelations of abuse. What support can be provided pre and post disclosure of sexual abuse, to enable parents and children to process trauma and heal
  • Evidence Scope three suggests that interventions and approaches to HSB should be more holistic, must engage with the children and young people’s broader social ecology and need to actively encourage the family’s participation. How can your practice incorporate more holistic approaches to working with children and young people with HSB?


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Professional Standards

PQS:KSS - Communication | Child development | Abuse and neglect of children | Child and family assessment | Analysis, decision-making, planning and review

PCF - Values and ethics | Rights, justice and economic wellbeing | Intervention and skills | Critical reflection and analysis