More young people in England aged 11-17 have a Child Protection Plan because of neglect than for the other forms of maltreatment that are officially recognised (emotional abuse, physical abuse or sexual abuse).

Teenage girl sitting on stairs 

More young people have been found to have been neglected during their adolescent years than to have been exposed to other forms of maltreatment within the family through research into their experiences – and international studies show that this holds true across all high-income countries.

Neglect has been linked to many different negative consequences – problems with mental ill health, substance misuse, problems with attendance, behaviour and attainment at school, offending, early sexual activity and running away from home – and has been shown to be as harmful as other forms of maltreatment.

Research suggests neglect during adolescence leads to worse outcomes for young people than neglect that takes place only during earlier childhood. Despite this, until now adolescent neglect has rarely been on the agenda for research or for developments in policy or practice.  

Most of the young people we work with in our services have been neglected by their parents or the adults they live with and The Children’s Society is now conducting a comprehensive programme of research, Understanding Adolescent Neglect, in partnership with the University of York in order to begin to redress the neglect of adolescent neglect – to ensure that it becomes better acknowledged, understood and responded to.

Troubled Teens

Our first study, Troubled Teens, introduces the subject and provides initial findings from a survey of 2000 12-15 year olds.

Read our troubled teens report