Child Protection Evidence - School-aged neglect

Child Protection Evidence is a resource available for clinicians across the UK and internationally to inform clinical practice, child protection procedures and professional and expert opinion in the legal system. This systematic review evaluates the literature on school-aged neglect.

About the review

This systematic review evaluates the scientific literature on school-aged neglect published up until November 2014.

It aims to answer the following clinical question:

  • What features, (excluding serological markers), are identifiable in school-aged children who are experiencing physical/emotional/supervisory/medical/educational/nutritional neglect and/or emotional abuse?

Neglect is the most common form of child abuse, but frequently goes unrecognised.

This review studies the effects of school-aged neglect by exploring the behavioural features, social functioning, emotional wellbeing and school performance.

The implications for practice and research, and other useful references are included in the review.

Key findings

  • Children of school age exhibiting behavioural difficulties such as externalising or disruptive behaviour or features associated with ADHD should be investigated for neglect or emotional abuse as a possible aetiology.
  • Education staff need to be aware of both the behavioural features, reduced IQ and poor academic performance and difficulties in social interaction that children experiencing neglect / emotional abuse may exhibit.
  • Children as young as eight may present with depressive or suicidal features as a consequence of neglect or emotional abuse, thus consideration should be given to screening children with known neglect/emotional abuse for these features.
  • Children who are experiencing difficulty developing friendships may be experiencing neglect or emotional abuse, thus practitioners assessing children for neglect or emotional abuse should ask the child about the extent and nature of their friendships.

Disclaimer: This is a summary of the systematic review findings up to the date of our most recent literature search. If you have a specific clinical case, we strongly recommend you read all of the relevant references as cited and look for additional material published outside our search dates

Original reviews and content © Cardiff University, funded by NSPCC
Published by RCPCH July 2017

While the format of each review has been revised to fit the style of the College and amalgamated into a comprehensive document, the content remains unchanged until reviewed and new evidence is identified and added to the evidence-base. Updated content will be indicated on individual review pages.