Section summarised

What is NEGLECT according to the Children’s Act 38/2005?

When a parent or caregiver fails to exercise his or her parental responsibilities to provide for the child's basic physical, intellectual, emotional or social needs. See Regulation 35 Sub-Section 2(d) for a description of neglect.

Beckett (2007) shares that identifying emotional abuse or neglect is not so easy and often a grey area that is open to disagreement among child protection social workers.

Practical tips

  • Assess the parent-child relationship as a whole to determine whether there is neglect or emotional abuse (Beckett, 2007).
  • Neglecting a child can already start when the child is in the mother’s womb, like when the mother abuses substances or smokes cigarettes while pregnant (Beckett, 2007).
  • Determine whether the parent/caregiver attends to the child’s medical needs – including dental needs – if not, educate and address this, as this is a form of neglect (Beckett, 2007).
  • If the child is harmed by an adult or one parent/caregiver, but the other parent does nothing to protect the child, this is also neglect (Beckett, 2007) – establish the facts and educate and prevent where you can.

Carefully summarised by: