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All alone: What is child neglect?

Child alone in the dark

What is neglect?

Neglect is when you’re not given the love, help and care that you need in order to grow up happy and healthy.

Different examples of children left alone or neglected

What does it look like?

It could mean not having a safe place to live, not having baths or showers, not eating properly, having old or worn out clothes, not going to school or not getting help when you're sick or hurt yourself.

Child surrounded by the words upset, sad, lonely, scared

What might it feel like?

You might feel lots of things. You could feel sad, lonely, upset, scared, tired, hungry or sick.

Little boy sitting alone in a room surrounded by shadows

What happens when we are neglected?

Being neglected might mean you fall behind at school, have trouble making friends or feel stressed or unsafe at home.

Child looking at Kids Helpline on phone

It’s NOT your fault

There’s nothing you can say or do that makes it OK for someone to neglect you.

Remember, it’s not your fault. You deserve to be taken care of!

Child sitting in forest with pet dog

What can you do to cope?

Find a safe place to hang out for a while. Do things you enjoy - play music, see friends, read, draw or play a game.

Find something to do each day that takes your mind off the hard stuff for a while.

Various adults in support roles like counsellor, doctor, social worker

Find someone to talk to

Find somebody you can trust and feel safe with. It might be an older relative or friend, a Kids Helpline counsellor or a school teacher.

Remember to keep talking to people until somebody listens and helps you.

Boy calling Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800

You are not alone – we're here for you

We are here to listen and to help.  Give us a call, send us an email or start a WebChat.

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This content was last reviewed 20/06/2018