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Covering your tracks

They don't care about me

If you are not being kept safe, helped to go to school and do not have the things you need such as clean clothes, food or somewhere comfy to sleep, then this is neglect.

Teenage girls talking through their problems

It’s important to remember that neglect is never your fault and it’s not ok. The people who look after you may have problems with money, drugs, alcohol or mental health, and may need some help, but you still have the right to be looked after. You may also find you are left alone for long periods of time, or spend lots of time looking after brothers or sisters.

 

What can I do?

Neglect can make you feel worried, sad, scared or angry, especially if you feel like you’re trying to deal with this all on your own. However, lots of young people find that it can help if they talk to someone. Some things you can do are:

  • Tell an adult you trust – this could include a teacher, a family member, your youth worker, social worker or support worker. It can be difficult to know how to have this conversation; we have some tips on asking for help.
  • With an adult you trust you could develop a safety plan that would help you choose how best to keep yourself safe.
  • Talk to your friends. A good friend will listen to you and may help you speak to an adult. 
  • Think about reporting it to the police. If you are at immediate risk of getting hurt, call 999. 

If you are worried about a friend, we have some tips on how you can start the conversation and get them the right help

I feel so embarrassed that my clothes smell bad

It can be hard if you are struggling to keep your clothes clean, or you have no money. You might be worried about what other people may think of you and your family, and it might feel embarrassing to say that you need help, however it is important that you and your family get the support you need – the best way to get this help is by talking to an adult you trust.

Will I get taken into care if I tell anyone?

If you tell someone that you are being neglected it doesn’t automatically mean you will be taken into care. It is a really big decision for people like social workers and the courts to put a young person into care, and they will only do this if they believe it to be the safest option for you and your family.  Social workers can offer some really good practical support to help you and your family and things will improve. 

Who can help me?

You&Co – you can talk to one of our support workers on a one-to-one basis, and we can offer you help and support. We can give you advice on how being neglected can affect you and how to cope with it, what to do and what to expect if you decide to report a crime to police, and how to move on from being a victim of crime. You can find out about the support available nearest to you on this website.

ChildLine – ChildLine offer 24-hour support for young people, both on the phone and through online chats and message boards, on physical, sexual and emotional abuse and a range of other issues; call 0800 1111.

The Mix – this website provides information and support for 16-25 year olds on a whole range of issues, including rape and sexual assault as well as safe sexual relationships. Get confidential help by telephone, email, text or webchat, for young people under 25; call 0808 808 4994.

Young Minds – this site can give you more information and advice on dealing with abuse. 

Asking for help

Are you thinking about reporting?