Charity Action for Children has called for protections for victims of domestic abuse to be extended to cover all young people who are victims of neglect.
Today the Deputy Prime Minister announced new definitions of domestic violence to include emotional and financial as well as psychological, physical and sexual abuse.
Victims of domestic violence and abuse aged 16 and 17 will now be recognised under a new cross-government definition.
Nick Clegg said the true face of domestic violence “is much more complex and much more widespread than people often realise”.
He added: “Suffering at the hands of people who are meant to care for you is horrific at any age. But it can be especially damaging for young people - the scars can last a lifetime.”
The new definition of domestic violence will come into use next March.
It covers any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.
Matthew Downie, Action for Children's Head of Public Affairs, said:
"Abuse doesn't have to be physical to have a deep and long lasting impact.
"We welcome efforts to improve the law to tackle domestic abuse and now call on the government to extend similar protection to children at risk of neglect.
"The current antiquated law on child neglect is nearly 80 years old and based on The Poor Law (Amendment) Act 1868 - and specifically excludes emotional and developmental harm.
"We urge the Government to take action now by extending these protections for victims of domestic abuse to all young people who are victims of neglect."
The Home Office said 'controlling behaviour' covers a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
Minister for Crime Prevention Jeremy Browne said: “It is vital that victims themselves, and those supporting them, are clear what constitutes abuse so they seek the support they need early on and don’t suffer in silence.
“By engaging young people in the decisions that affect them we will improve the services being delivered and ensure communities are working together to challenge and tackle this dreadful form of abuse.”