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Bill to reform criminal law of child neglect fails to receive second reading in Commons

Rescheduled second reading set for November

The Children's charity Action for Children is calling on MPs not to ignore the needs of vulnerable neglected children after a bill to reform the law on child neglect failed to get a hearing in parliament.

Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns, Matthew Downie, said:

"We're frustrated and disappointed that parliament wasn't able to find time to debate this much needed law reform to protect neglected children.  The current 80-year-old law is simply not fit for purpose and is failing hundreds of neglected children every year.

"We're calling on the public to continue to remind MPs why children suffering from emotional and psychological neglect need protection.  We were delighted that today, the professional body for social workers, the British Association of Social Work, publicly backed the campaign.

"Along with our supporters we'll now be working to ensure this important issue remains on the political agenda ahead of its rescheduled second reading on 22 November."

Mark Williams MP, who is proposing the bill, pledged to continue the campaign, saying:  

"It is a matter of great sadness that the Child Maltreatment Bill was not afforded the time to be debated today, despite the seriousness of the problem facing us. I hope the Government will consider the tragic cases which have come to light as a result of Action for Children's campaign on this issue, and think again about reforming Section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.

"I will continue to push for reform of this law, which has its roots in the Dickensian age, working in tandem with Action for Children and their Independent Advisory Group to ensure that children are adequately protected in the UK today."