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29 June 2012
In response to the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victim (Amendment) Act 2012 Action for Children's head of parliamentary and public affairs, Matthew Downie, said:
"This new law is an important step toward protecting vulnerable children and young people across the UK and should be used as a catalyst to ensure all child protection laws are updated.
"Like the child abuse loophole, the outdated laws around child neglect are leaving vulnerable children open to the devastating effects of this most common form of abuse.
"We urge Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke to continue fighting for our children's safety by reviewing the outdated Children and Young Persons Act 1933 to ensure that children are protected, and neglect is prevented."
Action for Children is campaigning for the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 to be reviewed and updated urgently as the current law fails to properly protect children from neglect.
In 2001, 774 people in England and Wales were convicted of cruelty to or neglect of children but by 2010 this figure had risen to 2,172, a near tripling of convictions in just ten years.
However, convictions for child neglect are unlikely unless physical harm has come to a child, which is defined by law as an individual event such as an injury, rather than cumulative harm where there is no specific and serious single event.
Action for Children is calling for:
A new law that includes a definition of neglect which fully reflects the reality of neglect and the harm it causes a child.
A law that gives clarity and guidance to parents and the general public.
Appropriate sentencing guidance to allow for interventions such as rehabilitation and parenting support, while retaining the ability to send people to prison for the most malicious, intentional neglect.
Find out more about our campaign here [http://bit.ly/K13bvQ].