Neglect is the most difficult form of abuse to describe
It happens when you don’t have enough food, supervision or care from an adult, clothing, medical care or somewhere warm and clean to live.
If a parent or carer doesn’t give you emotional support or very little attention then this is emotional neglect.
Examples of neglect
- You sometimes come home and find there’s no food.
- Your parents never bring you to the doctor even if you feel seriously ill.
- You’re often left alone for a long time (not just when your mother has gone shopping) and don’t know where your parents are or don’t know when they will return.
- You spend a lot of time minding younger brothers or sisters because your parents don’t want to do it, aren’t able to or aren’t there to do it. (You’re probably expected to help mind them sometimes but it shouldn’t be all the time).
- You don’t have a warm jacket in winter or you grow out of your clothes and nobody gets you new stuff. (It’s not neglect if your parents refuse to buy you expensive clothes or shoes!)
- Tell someone you trust about the abuse and ask them to support you or go with you to the Gardaí or police.
- It can be very difficult to speak out against what’s happening. If you can’t tell anyone that you know, you can speak confidentially with Samaritans.
- Sometimes an abuser will threaten to harm you if you tell anyone what’s happening. This is a way of frightening you into silence. If you tell the Gardaí or police they can make sure that you and other family members are safe from harm.
- If you don’t tell someone about the neglect it will probably continue.
- If the abuser is living in your home then you might need a temporary place to live in safety. There are refuges for victims of abuse and the Gardaí or police will be able to help you. If you’re under 18 you can get help from social services.
- Telling someone you’re being abused doesn’t mean that you’ll be taken away from your family. Social services will try to work out a situation that means you are safe from abuse, but still with your family.
- Even after the abuse has stopped you might have emotional or self-confidence problems. You can visit a counsellor to help you cope with your feelings.