REPORTS of child neglect across Hampshire have risen nearly 50 per cent according to a national children’s charity.

New figures show that last year the NSPCC referred 297 cases of neglect in Hampshire to the police and children’s services in the county following reports of suspected child neglect.

This is an increase of increase of 49 per cent - compared to 199 referrals in 2011/12 - over five years, the charity’s latest figures revealed.

Across the whole of the UK the NSPCC made 16,882 referrals to children’s services or the police in 2016/17, equivalent to 46 a day.

These latest figures on neglect cases have been revealed in the NSPCC’s state of the nation report, How Safe are our Children? , and comes as children’s social care in England face more pressures, with more young people being taken into care, and more families needing support.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC said: “Neglect can have severe and long-lasting consequences for children, and can also be an indicator of other forms of abuse.

“This is why it is so important for anyone suspecting a child of being neglected to contact the NSPCC Helpline, so we can alert the authorities to quickly step in and help those in need.”

Mr Wanless added: “At the same time, it is vital we understand the true nature and scale of child neglect in the UK so we can collectively tackle the fundamental causes.

Therefore, a governmentcommissioned, nationwide prevalence study on child abuse and neglect needs to be conducted, and sooner rather than later.”

Neglect can have serious and long-lasting effects; in the worst cases, it can lead to a child suffering permanent disabilities or even dying from malnutrition.

The charity recently issued common signs adults may notice in a child who is being neglected including poor appearance and hygiene, they may be smelly or have unwashed clothes, being left alone for a long time and have poor language, communication or social skills If anyone suspects a child is being neglected they can contact the NSPCC Helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0808 800 5000, or help@nspcc.