Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, is supporting a campaign to change an 80-year-old child neglect law which doesn’t protect children from emotional abuse.

At an event held at the Houses of Parliament, Annette met victims of abuse and supporters of Action for Children, the children’s charity that is promoting the campaign.

Annette said: “Neglect is the most common form of child abuse and yet the police are powerless to intervene in cases of emotional or psychological cruelty. In the light of recent horrific cases such as Daniel Pelka, we must have laws in place that protect the most vulnerable children. Action for Children’s campaign to update the law on child neglect is a timely one and I am keen to lend my support.”

Action for Children has been working with senior legal and academic professionals to propose a new law that will make it illegal to emotionally neglect or abuse a child. The proposed changes will also make it easier for police and social workers work together on cases of child neglect.

Matthew Downie, head of campaigns and public affairs at Action for Children, said: “The current law only covers physical harm and not emotional or psychological neglect – like on-going humiliation, refusal to speak to a child or isolation or scapegoating. This just doesn’t match up with the modern understanding of neglect and the negative affect this has on a child’s development.

“We have long been leading the campaign to update the law on child neglect, and – thanks to the support of MP’s like Annette – we finally have the opportunity to correct this out-dated law.”

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