New analysis from The Children’s Society has shown that teenagers aged 16 and 17 are more likely to be abuse or neglected than any other age group, yet lack any adequate legal protection.
Figures show that 1 in 50 16 to 17 year olds are at risk of physical or sexual abuse, as well as negligent care which leaves them without adequate clothing and food.
Despite these figures, the current law does not protect this age group in the same way that it does younger children. Currently, prosecutions can only be brought for neglect, ill treatment or abandonment while the child is under 16.
In light of this, the Children’s Society is urging the Government to amend the Serious Crime Bill.7
Lily Caprani, Strategy and Policy Director of the Children’s Society, said:
‘It is nonsensical that children aged 16 and 17 are at most risk of abuse and neglect, and yet aren’t given the same legal protection as younger children…We are urgently calling on the Government make it a criminal offence for a parent or guardian to abuse or neglect any 16 or 17 year old who lives with them.”