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Identifying and responding to child neglect: exploring the professional experiences of primary school teachers and family support workers

Bullock, Lydia; Stanyon, Miriam; Glaser, Danya; Chou, Shihning


Lydia Bullock

Miriam Stanyon

Danya Glaser

Shihning Chou


This study aimed to explore primary school teachers' and family support workers' experiences of working with families and children with suspected or confirmed child neglect. Two in‐depth, semi‐structured focus groups with four primary school teachers and six family support workers explored the experiences of the two separate professions. Two hypothetical vignettes describing emotional and physical neglect were used to aid discussion. A qualitative, inductive thematic analysis was used to analyse the focus group data. Despite professionals wanting to act when neglect is first identified (early intervention), this was often not common practice. Professionals highlighted that child neglect, in particular emotional neglect, was often not deemed ‘serious enough’ to report, and would not be reported until a bigger ‘jigsaw puzzle’ of evidence had been collated. Professionals struggled with policies and funding that impact on their ability to respond in every case of child neglect as well as multiagency working difficulties, including perceived confidence in their roles and how other professionals view their work and professional opinions. Child neglect, especially emotional neglect, must be rated as equally serious as other forms of child maltreatment necessitating intervention, and professionals must be given support and funding to achieve this.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 23, 2019
Journal Child Abuse Review
Print ISSN 0952-9136
Electronic ISSN 1099-0852
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 3
Institution Citation Bullock, L., Stanyon, M., Glaser, D., & Chou, S. (2019). Identifying and responding to child neglect: exploring the professional experiences of primary school teachers and family support workers. Child Abuse Review, 28(3), doi:10.1002/car.2558
Keywords Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health; Law; Child abuse and neglect
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Bullock, L., Stanyon, M., Glaser, D., and Chou, S. ( 2019) Identifying and Responding to Child Neglect: Exploring the Professional Experiences of Primary School Teachers and Family Support Workers. Child Abuse Rev., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.


This file is under embargo until Apr 23, 2021 due to copyright restrictions.

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